Steam off the Water: Men's and Women's Swim Teams Score Upset Victories over MIT
By Amro El-Adle '13, co-Editor-in-Chief
In their final meet of the season at Pratt Pool, the swimming and diving teams left an impression — several, in fact — on both their opposition, and the pool’s record books. Both the men’s and women’s teams handily defeated their counterparts from M.I.T., as they geared up for what should be a pair of exciting NESCAC Championship meets in the coming weeks.


Facing off against an undefeated team ranked higher than them, not to mention one that perennially competes for National Championships, the women’s swimming and diving teams made a splash last Saturday with a 196-104 demolition of the Engineers.

Celebrated before the meet alongside fellow seniors Louisa Zuo, Erin Kennedy, Andrea Jensen, Meggie Meisinger and captain Brooke Bennett for their class’ outstanding 28-3 record at Amherst, standout Kendra Stern once again made quick work of her opponents in her final meet at Pratt Pool.

Stern, one of the greatest swimmers to ever dive into Pratt pool in purple and white, was again dominant in the 500, as she clocked in at 4.51.66, more than nine seconds faster than the NCAA “A” cut, and three seconds faster than the previous record she had set in the pool. She also qualified for the NCAA “A” cut in the 200-yard freestyle, where she bested the next swimmer by about 10 seconds.

Not to be outdone, Stern’s teammates had outstanding performances across the board against the formerly eighth-ranked Engineers, who were clearly overmatched. Of the meet’s 16 events for women, the Jeffs won 12.

In the swimming events, first-year Allison Merz pulled out a couple of wins in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly events to help anchor the team’s scoring. “We definitely knew that it was going to be a tough meet leading into it,” Merz said. “We’ve been having a great season so far, on both the men’s and women’s sides, so I think we were all excited to see what we could do with some strong competition.”

On the diving board, first-year Lizzy Linsmayer scored 278.55 points on her one-meter dive, which was good enough not only for first place, but also the Pratt Pool record, which she shattered by 2.26 points. Meggie Meisinger ’11 also had success on Saturday, as she scored 255.98 points on her three-meter dive.

The Jeffs’ will have their next meet on Friday, at the Middlebury Invitational.


The men’s team maintained their perfect season with a hard-fought win over fifth-ranked, and now previously-undefeated, M.I.T., 167-131 on Saturday. It took some time, but this year’s graduating class finally pulled out a victory against the Engineers. The Jeffs had been 0-3 in their previous meetings, but in their final home meet of the season, the team dug deep for the win.

Senior co-captain Reid Fitzgerald, who won the 100-yard backstroke in 52.98, explained the team’s prepartion heading into the meet: “Many thought, at the start of the season, that [the Engineers] had the best freshman class in Div. III. The results of the meet on Saturday bear out the fact that Amherst and M.I.T. are heavyweights in Div. III swimming this year and we both should challenge for top spots in the nation.”

Leading the charge for the men’s team was junior Ryan Lichtenfels, who had an outstanding afternoon, claiming two of the six men’s Pratt Pool records broken on the day. One of his records came in a fiercely competitive 200-yard freestyle race, whose top three finishers all broke the previous Pratt Pool record. Lichtenfels, however, came out on top, as his new record of 1.41.04 was also good enough for an NCAA “B” time.

In a theme that marked the Jeffs’ victory on Saturday, Lictenfels returned to the pool for another dominant performance, this time in the 500, where he clocked in at 4.35.54, another NCAA “B” time. The Jeffs, true to form, took all three of the top spots in the race to capture all 16 points in the event.

In a testament to the men’s team’s depth, the Engineers actually managed to win the majority of the events at the meet, but were held at bay by a Jeffs’ team that consistently sent swimmers and divers to the podium. That’s not to say that Amherst did not win its fair share of events, as Tim White ’12 won the 1,000-yard freestyle, and first-year Colin White finished first on the boards, to improve his career mark to 14-0.

“The team has done so well this season through a combination of great returning leadership and an astounding freshman class,” explained senior co-captain Ryan Colby. “In the last two seasons, in particular, we’ve had the star power but we’ve lacked the depth. This year’s freshman class has not only added to the star power, but they’ve given us the best depth we’ve ever had.”

The team also celebrated the final home meet for seniors Alex Fraser, Walker Peterson, as well as co-captains Fitzgerald and Colby. The class of 2011 has gone 26-5 over the past four years, and will look to cap this season off with the first perfect dual meet season since 2004.

Issue 13, Submitted 2011-02-03 08:45:32