Then junior Russell Weeks swims breaststroke in a dual meet against Wheaton College on Jan. 23. (Julia Press / The Tufts Daily Archives)

Bowen, Wallace lead Tufts in season opener win over Middlebury

The first meet of the season proved a success for the Jumbos, who beat the Middlebury Panthers 185-110 on Nov. 20. 

The swimming portion of the meet took place at Hamilton Pool at Tufts, while the divers for both teams traveled to Bentley College. The Jumbos bested the Panthers on both fronts, sweeping the top five spots in the 100-yard freestyle and at least the top three places in the 200-yard free, 50-yard free, 50-yard butterfly, 50-yard backstroke, 50-yard breaststroke and the 400-yard medley relay.

Coach Adam Hoyt said that he was excited but not surprised by the team’s performance at the meet.

“We’ve got the talent to compete with most teams in the country,” Hoyt said. “Seeing our guys perform the way they did was satisfying and gratifying.”

He also noted that the meet marks a great start to what he hopes to be a successful season.

“We’ve got big goals for the season,” Hoyt said. “It’s hard to expect it to all come together at the end of the season if you’re not doing it well for the entirety of the season … While there’s more work to be done, we’re certainly off to a good start.”

There were two swimmers that were consistently right in the thick of the Jumbos’ success in the meet. Sophomore Kingsley Bowen and junior Zachary Wallace helped Tufts win the 400 medley relay in a Hamilton Pool record time of 3:30.54.

Individually each enjoyed multiple first place finishes in different events throughout the meet. Wallace placed first in the 100 butterfly, the 100 backstroke and the 200 individual medley. Bowen was the winner of the 50 butterfly, the 50 backstroke and was on the victorious relay team in the 400 freestyle relay.

“We stress versatility in our program,” Hoyt said. “I hope that our guys are working hard to improve all of their strokes in any events that we need them in. It allows us to compete at a really high level when we know we can utilize our athletes in a variety of events.”

On the diving front, the Jumbos — led by senior tri-captain Matt Rohrer — continued their success from previous years. In the meet against Middlebury, Rohrer placed first in the one-meter dive and third in the three-meter dive.

He said that the divers had not had high expectations for the results of the meet.

“[Due to NESCAC training regulations], going into this meet we had only been diving for three weeks,” he said. “So no one was really fully prepared. We weren’t expecting to blow it out of the water in this meet.”

Rohrer also noted that he feels his performances in the two events differed greatly from one another.

“The three-meter was the worst three-meter meet I’ve ever had. I failed a dive and didn’t get any of them on my head very well,” Rohrer said. “My one-meter was the best one-meter meet I think I ever had. The meet had its ups and downs, we all figured out what we needed to work on. It was an educational meet.”

Hoyt had high praise for the captain and noted that he has been diving at a high level since his first year with the team.

“Matt [Rohrer’s] performance was representative of what he’s been doing since he got to Tufts, which is competing at a really high level, performing at a really high level and helping to lead our diving program,” he said. “That’s what we expect of Matt [Rohrer] that’s what we need from Matt [Rohrer], and he doesn’t let us down. He’s very consistent.”

Tufts’ next meet will be the MIT Invitational in Cambridge, which takes place between Dec. 2 – Dec. 4.

“Everyone [on the team] trained over break, they’re in good shape and they’re ready to swim some good times,” Rohrer said. “The Middlebury meet got people amped. We saw that we can be a successful team, that we are a fast team. We’re swimming against some of the fastest teams in the nation [at the MIT Invitational], but I’m excited to see what we can pull off.”

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