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Swimmers Break MIT and N.E. Div. III Records

By Ognen J. Nastov
Staff Reporter

The men's swimming and diving team ended its season with by placing fourth out of 21 teams -- tying its best finish ever -- at the New England Division III Championships held last weekend at Williams College.

"I am very happy with the team performance," said Coach John Benedick. "It is tough to have an exceptional repeat performance such as this, but our team far exceeded all expectations."

The Engineers scored a total of 984.5 points, and were bested only by the winning teams: Williams with 1399.5 points, Amherst College with 1187.0 points, and Tufts University with 1166.5 points.

In the first day of the three-day meet, Tri-Captains Jim Bandy '93 and Bob Rockwell '93, placed third and fourth in the 500-yard freestyle with times of 4 minutes and 41.67 seconds and 4:42.66 respectively.

In the 100-yard butterfly, Tri-Captain Brian Meade '93 finished third at 52.59, while teammate Ted Achtem '95 captured fifth place in his specialty event, the 200-yard backstroke. Achtem swam an exceptional race finishing at 1:56.24, a time that slashed the seven-year-old Institute record, held by Marcos Fernandes '89, by almost five seconds.

Meade also captured a third place finish in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.49, lowering his own MIT record by one hundredth of a second. The day concluded with the 400-yard medley relay, in which the MIT squad, composed of Achtem, David Ferguson '93, Meade and Chad Gunnlaugsson '93, finished fifth with a time of 3:31.84, breaking a nine-year-old MIT record.

Achtem continued his record-breaking performance in the second day of the Championships by placing fifth in the gruesome 400-yard individual medley with a time of 4:11.33 that established a new MIT record in the event for the first time in 11 years. Bandy, Gunnlaugsson, Rockwell, and Meade dominated the 200-yard freestyle by placing second, third, fifth, and ninth respectively. Bandy also lowered his own Institute record in the preliminaries of the same event with a time of 1:42.84. Richard DeCristofaro '93 placed an excellent seventh in the 1-meter diving.

In the 800-yard freestyle relay, Meade, Rockwell, Bandy, and Gunnlaugsson not only crushed the competitors in 6:53.54 to capture the title in the event, but also broke their own N.E. Division III record and qualified for the national championship.

In the final day of the championships, Ferguson captured a thrilling second place finish with a time of 0:54.59 in the 100-yard individual medley, breaking Rockwell's MIT record by almost two seconds. Achtem was seventh in the same event. The 2-5-7 sweep of the 100-yard freestyle by Meade, Gunnlaugsson, and Bandy, indicated the possibility of another spectacular performance in the final event of the championships, the 400-yard freestyle relay. For Meade, the second place finish in the 100 freestyle was the third year in a row repeat performance.

As expected, the mighty squad of Meade, Rockwell, Bandy, and Gunnlaugsson captured the second title for MIT in the 400 relay, with a brilliant performance and a time of 3:05.21 that once again set a new N.E. Division III record, a pool record, and an Institute record.

"The Championships were a complete team effort," said Meade. "The hard work and well-planned taper paid off well, as most people achieved personal best times."

"Everyone rose to the occasion and performed amazingly well," Rockwell said.

"The four years on the swim team and all the hard training, camaraderie, and competition were a major time commitment, but were fun and absolutely worth it," concluded Meade.