Swimming and diving successful at Winter Invitational

The Tufts swimming and diving teams brought strong competition to the MIT Winter Invitational this past weekend. Courtesy Joseph Acquaviva

The Jumbos brought the heat to the MIT pool this past weekend for their first away meet of the season. The men came in as runner-up to MIT but dominated Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Wheaton College and Keene State College, while the women defeated MIT, Wheaton, RPI, Wellesley, Keene State and Simmons.

Over the three days, not only did Tufts prevail, but multiple school records were broken. On Friday, the foursome for the 800-free relay came in second to MIT while producing a school record for the opening leg. The team consisted of first-year Ethan Schreier, senior Nate Tingen, first-year Eric Lundgren and senior Victor Vollbrechthausen. The leg record was broken by Schreier, who then came back on Saturday to break some more. Schreier broke the Jumbo record in the 200-flies in the preliminaries on Saturday, then broke his own record in the finals later that day. The last time this record was broken was in 2018, with a time of 1:49.31, but Schreier claimed first place with a 1:48.29 mark.

“It was great to be out on the deck all together for the first time in almost 2 years,” Vollbrechthausen, who has been on the team for four years but has only been able to compete in one entire season due to COVID-19, said. “The 800-relay sets the tone for the meet since it is the first event. I think that we had some really strong swims, especially [Schreier] going out and setting a team record in the 200 on the first leg of the A relay.”

On Saturday, a similar feat occurred for the women’s team in the 200-freestyle relay. The team consisted of sophomore Jillian Cudney, junior Katelin Ulmer, junior Elle Morse and senior Mary Hufziger. They broke the record in the morning, then again later that day, to produce the new record of 1:33.5.

“For the 200-free relay, myself, as well as my teammates, are obviously thrilled about beating the record, but coming from a group of women that focuses so much on team achievements, I’m not at all surprised,” Ulmer said. “There’s an added level of ambition and excitement when you’re working together to achieve a goal rather than swimming an individual race.”

With only one more meet before winter break, both teams are working on maintaining the intensity they have been bringing to the pool. On Jan. 2, they will be heading down to Florida for their two-week training trip. When the teams come back in January, they will be competing in four more meets before they head to NESCAC Championships in February.

Both Vollbrechthausen and Ulmer commented about their meet next weekend where they will be competing against their toughest competition — Williams.

“We are just excited for another opportunity to get up and swim fast,” Vollbrechthausen said. “We know that Williams will be a strong competitor, but I think that as long as we focus on ourselves, we will be able to rise to that challenge. I think the MIT Invite was a huge confidence booster for all of us since we proved to ourselves and our conference that we are strong competitors.”

Ulmer added, “For next weekend I think we will be focused on continuing that energy and team spirit, as Williams is our number one competitor in the NESCAC, and we definitely want to show them what we are capable of while also having fun.”

This Saturday, the Jumbos are headed to Middletown, Conn. to compete against two other NESCAC teams: Wesleyan and Williams.