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Men's Swimming/Diving Defeats Tufts to Continue Winning Ways

By Ognen J. Nastov
Former Team Member

The men's swimming and diving team made history last Friday with a spectacular 136-101 win over Tufts University. MIT's first swimming victory over Tufts in 20 years.

``It was a big victory,'' said Head Coach John Benedick, visibly exhilarated by his first win over Tufts during his 18-year career as head swimming coach at MIT. ``I told the team that I've been trying to win that meet since before some of those guys were born,'' Benedick said. ``Our team rallied together and rose to the occasion as much as any team that we've ever had.''

``It was great,'' said Tri-captain Bob Rockwell `93. ``This was our season's best meet, an amazing overall performance for the entire team.''

The Engineers took the point lead from the very beginning, and never let it slip from their grasp. MIT swimmers won a total of nine events, being defeated only in the 1- and 3-meter springboard diving competitions, the 200-meter backstroke, and the 400-meter freestyle relay.

The meet, held at MIT's Alumni Pool, opened with a solid 4.09-second victory margin for the Engineers' A-relay squad in the 400-meter medley relay. In the 1000-meter freestyle, Rockwell triumphed with a winning time of 10:16.64. He finished 8.63 seconds ahead of the runner-up.

Rockwell crushed the field with another season's best performance in the 500-meter freestyle, 4:56.71, followed by Tri-captain Jim Bandy `93 in second place. Bandy claimed a victory in the 200-meter freestyle, 1:48.10, out touching Bonnelcynard of Tufts by 0.87 seconds.

MIT swimmers captured three one-two sweeps in the mid-distance stroke medley events. In the 200-meter individual medley, Vijay Lathi `94 hit the contact pad in a winning time of 2:01.33, while his teammate David Ferguson `93 was second. Lathi also won the 200-meter breaststroke, 2:19.25, in which teammate Brian Dye `96 was a close runner-up, 0.15 seconds behind. Dye was victorious in the 200-meter butterfly, 2:07.60, with teammate Jon Pfautz `95 finishing second.

The Engineers also swept the freestyle sprint events. Team Tri-captain Brian Meade `93 won both the 50-meter freestyle, 21.82, as well as the 100-meter freestyle, 47.96, while his teammate Chad Gunnlaugsson `93 was a close runner-up in both events, establishing a personal best of 22.08 in the 50 freestyle. ``Brian and Chad were an unstoppable force in the sprints,'' said teammate Todd Boutin `96. ``You could really tell they owned their events. They destroyed everyone.''

``Overall, it was a tremendous team effort. It was interesting to watch because we began to go one-two in so many events that we were swimming to get one-two,'' explained Benedick.

Before the Tufts meet, MIT overwhelmed UMass Dartmouth. ``That was a blowout meet,'' Meade said.

``It was a pretty low key meet, so the hardest thing that I had to do was to keep our team focused on that meet, rather than on the upcoming big meet with Tufts,'' Benedick said.