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Swimmers end season well

By Marc Wisnudel

The MIT men's swimming and diving team ended their season impressively, finishing sixth out of a field of 20 teams at the New England Division III Swimming and Diving Championships held last weekend at Bowdoin College.

Buoyed by New England's fourth highest scorer, Marcos Fernandez '89, the Engineers shattered team records in the 200-yd medley relay, 200-yd free relay, 50-yd freestyle, 100-yd backstroke, and 400-yd freestyle relay. Fernandez picked up the Engineers' only individual victory, in the 100-yd backstroke.

In addition, the tankers swam personal-best times in almost every race -- 14 of 18 scored points by placing in the top 24 of an event.

MIT sprinted to begin the meet with a third place finish in the 200-yd medley relay. Fernandez, swimming backstroke, led-off the relay and was followed by Dinesh Lathi '92, breaststroke; Peter Neirinckx '89, butterfly; and Andrew Knoedler '89, freestyle. The time of 1:36.99 shattered the team record by almost 3 seconds.

Momentum from the first event carried into the second as Matt Beaumont '92 made it to the consolation finals in the 500-yd freestyle. He broke MIT's freshman record with a time of 4:53.71 .

In the next event, the 200-yd individual medley, MIT had two swimmers in the finals -- Neirinckx, placing fourth and Keoki Jackson '89, placing eighth. In the 50-yd freestyle Fernandez took second with a time of 21.68, bettering his own team record by over 3 tenths.

Diver Andrzej Skoskiewicz '91 placed 21st in the 1 meter diving, marking the first time in recent history that a MIT men's diver has made it to the finals.

On the second day of the championships, MIT continued to swim fast, breaking another team record in the first race of the morning, the 200-yd freestyle relay. Knoedler, Fernandez, Neirinckx, and Campbell combined for a time of 1:26.95 and finished fifth.

In the next two events, Jackson finished fifth in the 400-yd individual medley and Neirinckx finished fourth in the 100-yd butterfly. In the 200-yd freestyle, MIT's Knoedler and Max Ochoa '90 scored points with eighth and 12th place finishes respectively.

The 100-yd breaststroke saw the Tufts meet-record holder lose his suit after the first turn and MIT's Paul Lefelhocz '91 place 10th with a personal-best time of 1:02.29 . The Tufts swimmer placed second, even with his suit around one ankle.

Leaving everyone else in his wake, Fernandez bettered his preliminary time and medley relay split in the 100-yd backstroke, finishing at 52.77 . He set another team record and just missed the New Englands record by a tenth of a second.

MIT took fourth in the 400-yd medley relay as Fernandez, Lefelhocz (Lathi in the preliminary race), Neirinckx, and Knoedler qualified for Nationals with a time of 3:34.59 .

The third day saw even more MIT personal-best times as Beaumont and Marc Wisnudel '91, ninth and 22nd respectively, scored in the 1650-yd freestyle. David Timothy '89 and David Lin '92, 11th and 19th respectively, scored in the 200-yd backstroke.

In the 100-yd freestyle, Fernandez missed his own team record by just 7 hundredths of a second, finishing second with a time of 46.80 . Knoedler was also in the finals, with an eighth place finish of 48.59 .

MIT had even more personal-bests as Lefelhocz finished 22nd in the 200-yd breaststroke and Jackson and Neirinckx finished third and sixth with National qualifying times of 1:55.75 and 1:56.60 times respectively.

By the last event of the meet, the 400-yd freestyle, MIT enjoyed only a 3 point lead over seventh place Wesleyan. MIT was going to have to beat Wesleyan, seeded next to the Engineers, to finish sixth overall. Knoedler, Neirinckx, Ochoa (Campbell in the prelimaries), and Fernandez rose to the occasion with a scorching 3:10.74 performance, destroying the team record by almost 4 seconds and finishing third, ahead of Wesleyan.

Swimming in the National Division III Championships at Bowdoin College March 16, 17, and 18 will be Neirinckx in the 200-yd individual medley, 100-yd and 200-yd butterfly; Jackson in the 200-yd butterfly and 400-yd individual medley; Fernandez in the 100-yd backstroke and 100-yd freestyle; and Fernandez, Lathi, Neirinckx and Knoedler in the 400-yd medley relay.

(Editor's note: Marc Wisnudel '91 is a member of the MIT swim team.)