Several Jumbos, including freshman William Metcalfe and junior Justin Choi, turned in the best races of their careers as the men’s swimming and diving team finished third out of eight at the MIT Winter Invitational this weekend. Tufts totaled 607 points, behind only MIT’s 1,322.5 and Keene State’s 980.5.
“This weekend we had one of our best team performances at the MIT Invitational since we began attending this meet in 2008,” coach Adam Hoyt said. “We also had some guys swimming lifetime bests, which was a great indicator that they were focused and have been training well.”
Tufts’ best event was the 200 butterfly, which was won by sophomore Anthony DeBenedetto with a time of 1:54.50. Metcalfe finished fourth at 1:55.88, and freshman Gus Simms placed ninth. Metcalfe also got fifth place in the 100 butterfly with a 50.82 time, and DeBenedetto helped the “A” group come in fourth at the 800 freestyle relay. The “B” group finished fifth.
Sophomore Michael Winget, who swam the 800 relay with the “A” group and placed fifth in the 200 backstroke, was most impressed by the teamwork Tufts exhibited.
“The relays were my most memorable highlights because everyone really stepped up and performed,” Winget said.
The Jumbos also raced well in the 400 freestyle relay, with the “A” group finishing fifth and the “B” group taking seventh place. Senior tri-captain Johann Schmidt and freshman Matthew Rohrer continued their excellent diving seasons with strong performances off the boards. Schmidt was second in both the one-meter and three-meter events, while his freshman teammate finished fifth and fourth, respectively.
Schmidt was proud of the team’s third place finish and saw several teammates step up to produce their best races of the season.
“The whole weekend was amazing,” Schmidt said. “We had a number of guys go [for] best times or close to their best times in many events. In my four years, I have never seen such a successful meet from so many guys.”
With the first half of their season complete, the Jumbos enter a five-week training period, which includes a two-week training session involving two practices each day, in addition to dry-land conditioning workouts. This trip will allow the team to get to know each other better and come together as a unit.
Hoyt was pleased with the way his team ended the semester and believes its success will carry over into the next phase of the season.
“Our hope is that some great performances this past weekend can be used as motivation to train smart, stay healthy and stay focused as we move into winter break, which is a critical part of our season,” Hoyt said.
The Jumbos will kick off the second semester with a home meet against MIT on Jan. 18. Though MIT – one of the top teams in Div. III – figures to pose a serious challenge, Winget believes Tufts will hit the ground running.
“I think we are in a great position to do great things,” Winget said. “The team is working really hard, and we will continue to work hard next semester. We have put ourselves in a position to succeed.”