Sprys reaches for swim team victoryBy Victor J. Diniak
The women's swimming team performed beyond the expectations of tenth-year head coach John Benedick to defeat visiting Wellesley College for the first time in four years.
The team's 77-66 victory was "one of the top three meets ever held at MIT," according to the coach.
Benedick expected his team to take first in the 1000-yard freestyle. The Engineers finished not only first, but also second in the event.
The 200-yard freestyle also brought good news. Hoping for a second-place finish, at best, the Engineers exceeded their expectations by placing first and third.
Megan Smith '86 and Brenda Golianu '85 also picked up unexpected points with strong finishes in backstroke events.
Excitement came in the 200-yard backstroke, when co-captain Rebecca Perry '86 shattered the school record of 2:30.8 with a steaming 2:24.8. Perry was not alone, as Linda Sprys '88 also broke an MIT record in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Sprys went on to provide a heroic finale to her team's performance. She took the second-to-last race of the meet, the 200 yard individual medley, with a quick time of 2:25 to give the Engineers a 70-66 lead. The lead was just shy of the minimum 72 points needed to win the meet
With seven points on the line in the last race, the 400-yard freestyle relay, the team of Perry, Sprys, Cheryl Sampson '88, and Julianne Marquet '87 provided what Benedick called "one of the fastest freestyle women's relays in MIT history."
The race, and consequently the meet, went down to Sprys's anchor lap. She entered the pool behind by a length and a half, caught her opponent with less than five yards left, and went on to win by less than a foot.
Benedick attributed the victory to a complete team effort that was "up to or beyond" his expectations for this point in the season.
According to the coach, the team is the best swimming team MIT has had in five years and the best women's team he has ever had at MIT.
"They are a tough, intense, quality team," he said. "They are real winners -- they like to swim and like to win," he added.
Both the women's and men's swimming teams will compete at home on Saturday against Amherst College. The women's meet starts at 2 pm and the men's at 4 pm in the Alumni Pool.