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Achtem Breaks Backstroke Record; Team Finishes 8th

By Ognen J. Nastov
Staff Reporter

The men's swimming and diving team ended its season by placing a solid eighth at the Division III New England Championships held on Feb. 25-27 at Bowdoin College, Maine. The Engineers, with 13 swimmers and no divers, scored a total of 321.5 points. There were about 20 teams at the championships.

"While placing eighth, our team showed a great deal of improvement, enthusiasm, and team spirit, and performed as one of the highest scoring teams at the Championships," said head coach John Benedick.

"Our team had a number of new people, and these championships gave them a valuable experience in swimming fast," said tri-captain Ted Achtem '95.

"We graduated a lot of big guns last year, so we didn't have the big points at these Championships," said Benedick.

"Nevertheless, the returning 1994-95 team has a solid core to build another powerful team for next year's New England Championships," Benedick said.

Achtem qualifies for nationals

The hero of the three-day meet was Ted Achtem. He captured a close second place in the 200-yard backstroke, in an exceptional time of 1:54.36 that broke his own MIT record from 1993 by almost two seconds. This qualified him for the NCAA Division III National Championships B-cuts.

In the gruesome 400-yard individual medley, Achtem continued his record-breaking performance by placing second again (4:08.51), while lowering his own Institute record from 1993 by 2.42 seconds. Brian Dye '96 and tri-captain Alan Liu '94 were 11th (4:17.75) and 15th (4:27.07) respectively in the same event.

"I am very pleased with how I swam my races," Achtem said. "The resting and tapering regime worked out well."

The MIT swimmers continued with excellent performances in the remaining individual medley events, in contrast to MIT's 1993 team which dominated the freestyle events last year. Achtem (54.89) and tri-captain Vijay Lathi '94 (55.88) placed 3rd and 8th in the 100-yard individual medley, while Lathi (1:59.39) and Dye (2.03 83) captured 7th and 15th in the 200-yard individual medley.

Dye turned in a solid 6th place performance in his specialty event, the 200-yard breaststroke (2:13.65). Veteran swimmer Christian Hamer '94, despite shoulder problems propelled to a 7th place finish in the 200-yard freestyle (1:46.04). In the 50-yard freestyle, Matt Lau '97 captured 15th place. Meanwhile, Liu was 15th in the 200-yard butterfly.

The Engineers performed well in the relay events. The team of Lathi, Steve Chan '95, Lau, and Joe Kurtz '96 placed 6th in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:29.59). Hamer, Achtem, Lathi, and Lau were 5th in the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:14.16), while Hamer, Dye, Kurtz, and Achtem also finished 5th in the 800-yard freestyle relay (7:11.12). In the 200-yard medley relay, the team of Peter Berger '97, Lathi, Kurtz, and Lau was 7th (1:40.97). The remaining swimmers on the MIT team, Brodie Hynes 96, Randy Yang '97, David Chatwin '97, and Sherrif Ibrahim '96 also swam very well, establishing personal best times and swimming in the final evening heats during the Championships.