Jeffs Win with Style at NCAA Championships
By Matt Fernald '13, Sports Section Editor
After a season of dominating pools, 13 Lord Jeffs flew out to Minneapolis, Minn. this past weekend to represent the College in the NCAA Swimming Championships from March 17 to 19. For the men, Tad Homchick ’10, Ryan Colby ’11, Alex Fraser ’11, Reid Fitzgerald ’11, Ryan Lichtenfels ’12, Tim White ’12 and Ben McBratney ’12 went, and for the women, Kendall Dacey ’10, Anna Haring ’10, Kendra Stern ’11, Rebecca Kelley ’12, Rebecca Thompson ’12 and Emily Swett ’13 swam.

It was a very successful trip overall for both teams. The men placed fifth, which ties the program’s best-ever finish set last year, and women finished sixth, marking the 14th consecutive year the Amherst women have placed in the top 12.

“Overall I think both the men’s team and the women’s team had phenomenal meets this past week at NCAAs,” said Dacey. “While individual performances were certainly impressive, both teams were able to finish fifth and sixth in the nation, which is a huge feat considering we competed against squads from Emory University and Kenyon College that had more than double our number. This accomplishment was definitely a team effort.”

Lichtenfels, an individual event champion, credited the team’s performance to the coach Nick Nichols’ training program. “The [men’s] team had an amazing performance this past weekend. I owe our success to all the hard work we put in the pool over the past season and also to Nick Nichols’ dedication as a coach,” Lichtenfels said. “Without Nick’s leadership abilities and dedication to our program, we would not be half the team that we are today.”

However, the individual performances must not be overlooked. Stern won the 100-yard freestyle for the third year running, which is her 10th NCAA title. She also won the 200-yard freestyle (breaking her old national record in the process) and placed second in the 500. In the 200- and 400-yard medley relays, the efforts of Swett, Kelley, Dacey and Stern earned them seventh and eighth place, respectively.

The men’s individual performances verged on historic. On the final day, Lichtenfels won the 1,650-yard freestyle by nearly 10 seconds, beating two-time defending champion Kegan Borland of Kenyon, marking the first time in 20 years that a Kenyon swimmer has not won the race. Lichtenfels also placed third in the 400-yard individual medley and fifth in the 500-yard freestyle.

Also scoring big for the men was Fraser, who placed third in the 100-yard freestyle and won both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races, the latter for the second year in a row.

Issue 19, Submitted 2010-03-24 20:12:22