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Coast Guard Beats Swimmers

By Ognen J. Nastov
staff reporter

In its second dual meet of the season at the Alumni Pool last Tuesday, the men's swimming and diving team was defeated by the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. "The score is not a good indication of how well the team swam," said head coach John Benedick. "We had a lot of good individual swims."

The 400-yard medley relay opened the meet, with Engineer's A-squad placing second, 4.13 seconds behind the winning squad from Coast Guard. In the 1000-yard freestyle, Theodore Weber '96 swam in third position for two-thirds of the race, but was outtouched by C. Harris of Coast Guard by 1.36 seconds.

Christian Hamer '94 broke Coast Guard's victory roll by winning the 200-yard freestyle in 1:50.87, crushing runner-up M. Capelli of Coast Guard by almost a second. The two swimmers battled again in the 500-yard freestyle, with Hamer convincingly achieving his second win at the meet. MIT tri-captains Ted Achtem '95 and Vijay Lathi '94 swept the 200-yard individual medley by placing 1-2 (2:04.11 and 2:04.55). The audiences rose to their feet as M. Burd of Coast Guard was outtouched by 0.11 seconds (approximately 9 inches) by Lathi.

While MIT swimmers gave their best during the rest of the meet, they only had partial success, at best placing second or third. In addition, the lack of any divers on MIT's team enabled the three Coast Guard's divers to boost their team score by 32 uncontested points. There was also some evidence that Coast Guard had a broader base of fast freestyle swimmers than MIT. Coast Guard finished with a 164-72 victory.

Benedick cited the lack of swimming facilities as a crucial factor for the defeat: "We have beaten Coast Guard in 9 out of the past 10 years at the New England championships at the end of the season, but not at the dual meet at season's beginning."

Benedick explained that this paradox stems from the fact that while Coast Guard swimmers train 2 hours a day beginning in September, the MIT swimmers train only 1 hour a day. The swimming team has to wait until November to take over the pool time slot from water polo team. The rest of the time slots at the 50-year old Alumni Pool are taken by physical education classes and crowded open swim sessions.

"We simply do not have Coast Guard's edge early in the season, since we simply haven't been practicing even a half of what they have," Benedick said.