Closing in on the last few races of the regular season, the Jumbos competed against MIT for the second time this season in its penultimate regular season meet on Jan. 25 and lost 201–99. Despite the second consecutive loss for the Jumbos, the team had multiple first-and second-place showings in various events.
Both the first-year and sophomore class boasted the majority of the high-place finishes. In the 1,000-yard freestyle, sophomore Sook-Hee Evans placed first with a 10:49.70 time, just under six seconds ahead of the second place swimmer, first-year Emily Yuan, from MIT.
Junior Grace Goetcheus reflected on the match-up against MIT earlier this season.
“The race we had earlier in the season was the culmination of the first semester training that we had had so we were really on top of it,” Goetcheus said. “We had all reached peak shape for that semester so we had a lot of great races. We had some school records set and we had people swimming best times.”
Sophomore Sasha Fong also boasted a first-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly with a 57.87 time, almost two seconds ahead of second place swimmer first-year Jenny Yu. In the 200-yard medley relay, an underclassmen team of sophomores Fong and Lily Kurtz and first-years Jeanette Khowong and Hannah Spencer placed second at 1:47.82, less than a second behind MIT who clinched first at 1:47.58.
“Overall, we did a really good job in total keeping a positive attitude, and a lot of people swam a full amount of events and did a very good job taking it one race at a time and focusing their energy on each individual race,” Fong said.
The Jumbos dominated the 500-yard freestyle with the top three finishing times. First-year Mary Hufziger placed first at 5:16.43, followed closely by Evans who finished second two seconds later. Sophomore Emma Seymour took third place four seconds later at 5:22.23.
The Jumbos also saw a handful of second place finishes. In the 200-yard freestyle relay, a team of Spencer, Fong, first-year Anne Younger and senior Colleen Doolan missed first by three seconds, taking second at 1:40.36. In the individual races, Goetcheus placed second in the 200-yard freestyle, and sophomore Amber Chong earned a score of 280.34 in the one-meter dive, securing another second place finish for the Jumbos.
Competing in the 400-yard individual medley, sophomore Abby Claus missed first by just a second, taking second place with a 4:36.36 time following Engineer sophomore Hannah Mahaffey.
Overall, MIT won 13 out of the 16 total events and also broke a pool record after MIT sophomore Deborah Wen scored 320.17 on the one-meter board, shattering the six-dive pool record.
Tufts defeated MIT at the MIT invitational earlier this season. The team attributes the loss to MIT in the second matchup to the fatigue following the spring break training trip.
“We had just come back from our training trip, so we had just spent a week and a half in Florida training really hard, preparing for the end of the season which is mid-February,” Goetcheus said. “So all of us were kind of tired, definitely feeling the intense training.”
With just one meet remaining on the regular season schedule, Tufts has started to prepare synchronously for both the BU Invitational and the NESCAC championships. To prepare, the team has split into two groups — one is preparing solely to compete in the BU Invitational which is on Feb. 8, while the other has already started to prepare for the NESCACs which start on Feb. 15.
“Our team has now split up into [the] NESCAC team and the BU invitational team,” said Fong. “So the BU Invitational team is now starting their taper and the NESCAC team will be swimming for another week off-taper, then slowly start tapering for NESCAC’s in two and half or three weeks.”
The team attributes its success thus far on the emphasis the team has placed on strong mental preparation.
“We have a team motto this year that our new assistant associate head coach has been telling us, Coach Abby, about having no limits and being able to just push ourselves past what we think we can do and setting no bar on what we are able to do,” Fong said. “Taking that mindset and carrying it through NESCACs and also NCAAs I think is a very big and important aspect of our preparation.”