WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS. – For the first time in 14 years Steve Kuster's Williams men's swimming team will not enter the NESCAC Championship Meet as the defending champion.
A year ago Tufts University won their first NESCAC title with a winning margin of 81 points over the Ephs who finished second. Tufts' title in 2018 is one of only two NESCAC titles the Ephs have not won. Middlebury won the 2002 title.
The Ephs have won 16 of the 18 NESCAC titles to date, but to reclaim the title this year Kuster's team will have to do it without a competing diver, as the Ephs do not have a diver on this year's roster.
"I'm looking forward to this weekend," said Kuster. "I think it is going to be an unbelievably competitive and very fast meet. I'm not into predicting outcomes, but I think my group is poised to swim well and we should have a good meet as long as all 24 come ready to play!"
For the first time the championship moves to a four-day format as the 800 freestyle relay was shifted to Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Competition on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday begins with preliminary heats at 10 a.m. Finals are scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday, 5:50 p.m. on Saturday, and Sunday at 5:30 p.m.
All tickets will be sold at the door. Tickets for Thursday evening's session are $5 for adults and $3 for children and students. Tickets for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are $8 per session for adults and $3 per session for children and students. Doors will open 60 minutes prior to the preliminaries and finals.
Along with watching the webcast online fans may also view the championships on Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV.
Fifteen 2018 NESCAC Champions return to the pool and 37 of the top three finishers in the 24 events are making a repeat appearance at the championships.
All three 2018 NESCAC Champions return in the distance freestyle events and Lovette looks to repeat as the NESCAC Champion in the 500 and 1,650 races, while teammate Andrew Trunsky won the title at the 1,000 distance. Lovette and Trunsky rank second and third, in the 500, respectively. Trunsky will look to defend his 2018 title in the 1,000, while Lovette and classmate Jackson Karofsky , the runner-up in 2018, hold the top two times in the 1,650 freestyle this winter. There will be a new champion in the 50 breaststroke, however, Williams senior Jack Melnick, last year's runner-up returns.
Eph first-year Andrew Royek is expected to challenge in the 100 butterfly and Lucca Delcompare, the defending champion in the 200 butterfly, owns the top 2018 time heading into this year's race. In the 200 individual medley, Delcompare, last year's third-place finisher will challenge for top honors.