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MIT Swimming Wins NEWMACs

By Jesse Smithnosky

TEAM MEMBER

The Men’s Swim Team won the NEWMAC Championships held Feb. 22 to 24, regaining the title after last year’s loss to the United States Coast Guard Academy.

“This was probably the best NEWMACs our men’s team has ever had,” said head coach Mary Ellen McLaughlin. “They worked very hard, especially over IAP, and I couldn’t be happier with how well it paid off.”

Second place Babson College finished 228 points behind the Engineers, despite dominating both diving events. MIT’s lone diver at the meet, team co-captain Phillip B. Armour ’02, is actually a converted swimmer who gave up a swimming event to dive only because the team needed him so desperately.

Sidelnik qualifies for nationals

MIT was led by the strongest freshman class in recent memory. Nicholas O. Sidelnik ’05 won both the 1650 yard freestyle and the 400 yard individual medley, while taking the silver in the 200 yard butterfly. His time of 4:07.78 was good enough for an invite to NCAA Nationals, which will be held this weekend. Sidelnik shattered the conference record in the event by seven seconds.

Bruce J. Di Bello ’05 also had an impressive meet, winning two events, taking fourth in the 50 yard freestyle, and swimming on four of MIT’s “A” relays. His time of 2:08.66 in the 200 yard breaststroke not only broke the conference record, but was a “B cut” for NCAA nationals. Di Bello also posted a “B cut” in the 100 yard breaststroke.

Deep MIT lineup leads to win

Three other swimmers on the MIT team placed in the top eight of all three of their individual events: Maike Geng ’05 in the 100 yard freestyle, the 200 individual medley and the 400 individual medley; David D. Lohrey ’05 in the 200 free, the 200 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley; and Erdem M. Kiciman ’04 in the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 breaststroke.

In addition to Sidelnik and Di Bello, MIT had several other event winners. Matthew N. Styczynski ’04 won the 100 yard butterfly, setting a NEWMAC record with a time of 52.04 (in addition to placing in the top eight in the 100 and 200 backstrokes). MIT also took first place in the 400 yard medley relay with the team of Styczynski, Di Bello, Sebastian Gutierrez ’03, and Geng.

Each day of the meet saw one event where MIT’s dominance was particularly evident. On Friday, Kiciman led four MIT swimmers into finals of the 50 yard freestyle. He placed second, while Di Bello took fourth, Nathan H. Vantzelfde ’04 placed sixth, and Daniel F. Morris ’02 took seventh. On the second day, Sidelnik’s record-breaking performance in the 400 yard individual medley was swum alongside four of his teammates in finals. Geng finished right behind in second place, also making a “B cut” and breaking the old NEWMAC record, while Jesse M. Smithnosky ’04, Corey M. Gerritsen ’02, and David R. Coleman ’04 finished sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively.

On the final day, MIT had five of the top seven finishers in the 200 breast, led by Di Bello and Lohrey, who finished first and second, respectively. Smithnosky finished fourth, followed closely by Joseph P. Carlucci ’05 in sixth and Ira E. Phillips ’03 in seventh.