Tufts falls narrowly to Boston College, easily dispatches Wheaton

Senior Scott Simpson swims the butterfly during a meet for Swimming and Diving. Courtesy Tufts Swimming and Diving

While many Tufts students were still enjoying their winter breaks, the men’s swimming and diving team raced in a pair of meets, against Boston College and Wheaton College. On Jan. 16, Tufts visited Boston College, losing 191–179. However, the Jumbos were not discouraged by the loss, as they reestablished themselves by beating the Wheaton Lyons 180–112.

Against Wheaton on Jan. 20, Tufts took the winning place in 10 of the 16 events, posting 180 total points. Remarkably, the Jumbos swept the top three places in eight of those 10 wins. The 200-yard medley relay was one such event, with three Tufts teams posting times under 1:40. The quartet of senior Lorenzo Lau, sophomore Matthew Manfre, sophomore Constantino Camerano and first-year Noah Zhang took the top place with a time of 1:37.32.

The Jumbos accomplished the same achievement in the 1000-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke, 200-yard butterfly, 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle. Camerano and Lau, along with junior Kingsley Bowen and senior co-captain James McElduff, all recorded two first-place finishes in individual events. Senior Aaron Idelson maintained his momentum from the Boston College meet, finishing second in the one- and three-meter diving competitions.

Tufts locked down the win over Wheaton midway through the meet, and its swimmers did not even compete for points in the last few events.

Several days earlier, the Eagles posed a significantly larger challenge. Tufts’ last win against Boston College came during the 2007–08 season, when it defeated its crosstown opponents by 39 points.

This year’s edition on Jan. 16 kicked off with the 200-yard medley relay, and the Jumbos welcomed a great start. The Tufts team of Bowen, Manfre, sophomore Roger Gu and senior Zach Wallace finished first in 1:34.04, earning 11 points for the visitors.

The Jumbos kept their foot on the gas, winning nine of the remaining 19 events for an even split between the two teams on top of the podium. Bowen took three individual events (the 100-yard backstroke, 50-yard backstroke and 100-yard individual medley), while Gu won two individual events (the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle), as well as with a 200-yard freestyle relay triumph alongside McElduff, Camerano and senior Michael Brienza.

First-year John LaLime won both events for long-distance swimming — the 1,000-yard freestyle (9:52.51) and the 500-yard freestyle (4:49.90) — and first-year Tyler Tatro won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:46.98. Coach Adam Hoyt was very happy with the performance of these two first-year athletes.

As for diving events, Idelson finished in second place in both the one- and three-meter diving competitions, each worth four points toward the Jumbos’ total.

Despite the Jumbos’ great performance, they fell by a small, 12-point margin. Instead of discouraging the Jumbos, though, the loss actually bolstered their spirits.

“The loss to BC only boosted our team confidence,” Hoyt said. “We won a lot of close races, and the score showed a dramatic improvement from last year’s performance against them. The fact that we had such a close meet against a [Div. I] team only shows how strong of a team we are, and we hope to keep that racing mentality for the rest of our season.”

Bowen won NESCAC Performer of the Week for his performance. The Pepper Pike, Ohio native won five individual events against Boston College and Wheaton, while also leading the team in several winning relays.

It is worth noticing that Tufts performed well in relays, winning all of the events they contested. Besides being worth 11 points — as opposed to the nine points gained by an individual first-place finish — relays draw the most attention and can provide an extra level of confidence to the team.

“Swim meets always start and end with relays, so opening with a winning relay sets the tone for the swim meet,” Bowen said. “In many instances, the competitiveness of the relays reflect how competitive the meet will be. They are also worth more points than any individual event, so relays are big factors regarding score and mentality.”

On Feb. 2–3, the Jumbos will attend the Middlebury Invitational in Middlebury, Vt., their last meet before the NESCAC and NCAA Championships.