Men’s, women’s swim and dive set several pool records despite losses to MIT

Scott Simpson (LA'18) swims the breast stroke during a meet for Tufts Swimming and Diving. Courtesy Tufts Swimming and Diving

The Tufts men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams hosted their final home meet of the season at Hamilton Pool against Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the annual Senior Day meet. In the second meet against MIT this season, both the men’s and women’s teams suffered narrow defeats, with the men’s team falling 155–139 and the women’s falling 156–144.

On the men’s side, the Jumbos were spearheaded by senior Roger Gu, who capped off his last ever home meet in record-breaking fashion.

In the 50-yard freestyle, Gu was in a class of his own, blazing to a pool-record time of 19.71 seconds. No other competitor in the event was able to break the 20-second mark. Gu also dominated the 100-yard freestyle, finishing nearly a second clear of the next-fastest swimmer. With his winning time of 45.07, Gu was only 0.11 seconds off his performance last week against Wheaton.

Aside from his individual performances, Gu also provided key relay splits for the Jumbos, first anchoring the 200-yard medley relay to a win and setting the pool record, alongside senior Matthew Manfre, senior co-captain Costa Camerona and sophomore Nate Tingen. He then finished off the meet by splitting 19.35 on the second leg of the 200-yard freestyle relay and helping the Jumbos to a close second place finish at 1:22.57.

Gu talked about the emotions that he carried with him in his final home meet, and how they empowered him throughout the course of the competition.

“Sadness that it was over, but also gratitude for all the amazing memories that took place at the home meets,” Gu said. “[The emotions] definitely played a role, as I wanted to go out giving it all I had and leave on a high note.”

Coach Adam Hoyt praised Gu for his contributions over the past four years, detailing the kind of impact that Gu has left on the Tufts swimming program.

“It’s hard to realize the impact that Roger has had on our team,” Hoyt said. “[His] competitiveness and his support of his teammates are both special qualities he possesses. I think his impact will be long lasting and we’re proud to have him as a member of our team.”

Behind Gu, the rest of the men’s team rallied and swam lights out the entire afternoon. Junior John LaLime kept with the record-breaking theme by setting a new pool record in the 1,000-yard freestyle at 9:47.10, with first-year Evan Szablewski following closely for second at 9:47.96.

Sophomore Tar Tar Jarusinchai continued to dazzle with a first-place time of 58.88 in the 100-yard breaststroke, while also finishing second in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:08.24) and third in the 200-yard individual medley (IM) with a time of 1:54.27. In the sprints, first-year Peter LaBarge came up with a third-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle at 20.80.

For the women’s team, various pool records were also shattered, despite the team’s loss. First-year Claire Brennan swam to a win and a pool-record time of 1:55.08 in the 200-yard freestyle, while sophomore Mary Hufziger finished in a close second at 1:55.88. First-year Elle Morse eclipsed the pool record in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.28, with senior co-captain Brooke Bernstein (24.77) and first-year Hannah Lesser (24.84) grabbing third and fifth respectively.

Junior Amy Socha led the way in the butterfly events with a pool-record time of 57.29 in the 100-yard race, while first-years Katelin Isakoff (58.59) and Camille Ross (58.70) finished third and fourth. The final pool record for the female Jumbos came in the 200 yard IM, in which senior co-captain Grace Goetcheus capped off her final home meet with an emphatic swim of 2:10.80; she narrowly out touched junior Abby Claus (2:10.94) for the win.

The Jumbos also got great swims out of their distance group, as junior Sook-Hee Evans (10:44.17) and first-years Allison Cremer (10:45.98) and Allison Brea (11:00.31) completed a podium sweep in the 1,000-yard freestyle. Evans also nabbed a win in the 500-yard freestyle with a 5:13.24, with Brennan maintaining a steady lead over the other swimmers to finish second in 5:17.84. 

As the competition came to a close, all of the seniors were celebrated and embraced by their teammates and parents alike. For these seniors, this was their final time competing at Hamilton Pool, a bittersweet moment for many.

After the meet, Isakoff shared her thoughts on the departing seniors.

“I would describe our seniors as great leaders, super friendly and incredibly welcoming,” Isakoff said. “From my first day on this team, they made me feel so at home. They created an amazing team atmosphere and cultivated a strong team culture. I’m going to miss the way they kept our spirits up through hard sets and their words of encouragement before each meet.”

Hoyt also expressed his gratitude for the graduating class.

“They’re a special group that cares deeply about our program, their teammates and their legacy,” Hoyt said. “They’ve made our team more competitive but also more supportive of each other. We will miss them next year.”

Up next, the Jumbos travel to Boston University for the two-day BU Invitational on Friday and Saturday. This will be the Jumbos’ final meet of their regular season.

“I think our season has been culminating through our dual meets and the team is set up to perform well at BU,” Hoyt said. “It’s our first championship meet and will set the tone for our championship season. I have a lot of confidence in our group and am excited to see them rise to the occasion.”