Men's swimming and diving finishes seventh at NCAAs

Those who earned the honor to compete with qualifying in-season times were first-years John Ancona and Ethan Treat, sophomores Rick Estacio and Bryan Woo, junior Chuck Clinton and senior co-captain Mike Pohorylo.

The weekend marked the bitter-sweet end of collegiate swimming for Pohorylo, the star Jeff of the meet. Last year at the national meet, he took second in the 200-yard breaststroke and fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke.

“I knew I had a chance of winning the 200 breaststroke this season,” said Pohorylo, “but I really did not think winning the 100 was a possibility. However, when I got behind the blocks at nationals right before the championship heat of the 100, I knew I was going to walk away with a national championship.”

And he did just that. The senior beat out his closest competition from Kalamazoo College by six-hundredths of a second to win his first national championship with a time of 56.20 in the 100 breaststroke. The following day, Pohorylo dominated the 200 breaststroke, beating all competition by at least a full second for yet another National Championship with a time of 2:00.97. His two finishes also made him both the NESCAC and Amherst College record holder in each event.

“This meet was very emotional for me,” admitted Pohorylo. “I knew that, after the three-day meet was over, my 14-year swimming career would be over, too. I consider myself incredibly lucky that my last two individual races ever were a pair of wins at Nationals.”

Pohorylo also finished 11th in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:53.00. His accomplishments have made an integral contribution to the men’s swimming and diving team’s success this year as well as throughout his career.

“Pohorylo inspires great performances both by his unparalled motivational attitude and by his exemplary performances,” said Estacio. “His leadership has enabled me to achieve performances I used to dream were impossible. He is a leader in the pool and kept the team functioning as a cohesive unit all season long, which enabled us to achieve our perfect 9-0 record. Pohorylo’s leadership as well as unmatched swimming ability will be sorely missed next season.” Pohorylo ended his Amherst swimming career with two national championships and 11 All-American honors.

The first-year Jeff sensation of the meet was Ethan Treat, who earned his first two individual collegiate All-American honors. He took fifth place in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 3:58.85, a new NESCAC record. He was most impressive in the 200-yard butterfly, finishing in fourth place with a time of 1:52.05, breaking both the NESCAC and Amherst College records.

“Ethan’s performances distinguish him as a standout freshman,” said Estacio. “His two All-American performances are an indicator of the good things to come. Ethan works as hard as anyone I’ve ever competed with.”

“It’s rare that a freshman is able to perform well at Nationals because of the pressure involved, but Ethan was an exception. His two individual All-American performances already rank him among the best in Amherst swimming history, and he still has three years to go.”

Estacio ended the meet with two All-American honors in individual events. He finished eighth in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 51.68. Estacio also finished seventh with a time of 1:51.43 in the 200-yard backstroke, which was particularly impressive because he was the only NESCAC competitor to finish in the top 16. Both times set new Amherst College team records.

“Estacio’s success wasn’t much of a surprise,” said Pohorylo. “He dominated the NESCAC during the regular season and picked up a NESCAC championship in the 50 backstroke at Bowdoin three weeks ago, so I had no doubt that he would have an All-American performance at Nationals. Although [Williams’] Will Cunning-ham won the 100 back, Estacio proved he is the most versatile backstroker in the NESCAC.”

Woo took 10th in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 50.35. He also took 14th in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.37, less than one second off the top time. The team’s most impressive relay event was a third-place bronze finish by Estacio, Pohorylo, Woo and Clinton in 3:22.53 in the 400-yard medley relay. The same team also took seventh in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:33.37.

The team’s seventh-place finish is Amherst’s best national swimming and diving finish in history. Their impressive season came to a close, with the bar raised higher than ever before for 2004-05. The team is poised for an even better finish next season.