Men's swimming: Men crush Springfield, honor seniors

The meet began with a tribute to the team’s four graduating seniors, co-captains Dan Morash and Mike Pohorylo, Grant Mandsager and Steve Shapiro. Following the celebrations, the Jeffs started the meet off with a strong one-two-three finish by the Jeffs after both Pride medley relay teams were disqualified.

Next, the Jeffs dominated the first three freestyle events. Adam Lewkowitz ’06 and Shapiro began by taking second- and third-place, respectively, in the 1000-yard freestyle. In the 200-yard freestyle, Chuck Clinton ’05 and Ed Hagerty ’07E went one-two, while Bryan Woo ’06, Adam Kaplan ’07 and Nick Federico ’05 took first, third and fourth in the 50-yard freestyle. Pohorylo took first in the 200-yard individual relay, while first-year James Stanton came in a close second. Ethan Treat ’07 and Federico took first and third in the 200-yard butterfly.

The Jeffs showed supremacy in the freestyle events as the meet continued. Clinton, Morash and Kaplan took first, third and fourth in the 100-yard free, while Lewkowitz, Shapiro and Colin Porter ’05 took first, second and fourth in the 500-yard free.

The Jeffs dominated with two one-two-three finishes in the 200-yard backstroke and breaststroke events. Rick Estacio ’06, Hagerty and Dan Gach ’05 finished in that order in the backstroke and Pohorylo, John Ancona ’07 and Treat did the same in the breaststroke.

The Jeffs ended the meet with a tribute to the graduating class. An all-senior relay of Mandsager, Morash, Shapiro and Pohorylo swam for Amherst in the 400-yard freestyle relay. The senior team finished second while Amherst’s two other relays finished third and fourth.

Diver Jay Buchman ’07 finished his first dual-meet season with second-place finishes in both the one- and three-meter events.

By the end of the meet, Amherst had dropped only two swim events, once again proving themselves to be one of the strongest Div. III teams in the region. The team attributes much of its success to the performance of the senior class in the pool and to their leadership on dry land as well.

“The great leadership of the graduating seniors throughout the season raised the confidence of all of our swimmers to do things they never thought possible,” said Tommy Gonnella ’06.

The 9-0 Jeffs finished undefeated for the second season in a row and have now won their last 21 dual meets, a feat that this year’s seniors could only dream of as freshmen, Pohorylo said. “Every athlete hopes they will be able to end their careers on a high note and I, along with the other members of the class of 2004, was able to do just that.”

This season, Amherst also beat Williams College for the second year in a row and earned back-to-back Little Three Championship titles. This accomplishment last occurred in 1943.

“The dynamics on this team are incredible,” said Pohorylo as he attempted to explain the team’s success. “While most groups will self-destruct after spending countless hours together in an intense working environment, our team has only grown closer. I am truly impressed by the individuals in this program and proud to call them my teammates.”

“We trained harder this season than we ever have before, and it showed in our performances,” added Shapiro.

After a rewarding dual-meet season, the Jeffs now prepare with confidence for the NESCAC Championships at Bowdoin College Feb. 27-29. In preparation, the team will soon begin tapering as the men gear up for their biggest challenge yet. In addition, the Jeffs hope to send a large contingent to the NCAA Div. III Championships in St. Louis, Mo. March 18-20.

Last season, Amherst finished second at the NESCAC championships. This year, however, the men know the challenges of going in undefeated and are ready to meet both their own high expectations as well as the underdog attitudes of their competitors.

“After going undefeated last season we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to win NESCACs,” said Pohorylo. “This pressure ultimately got to us and we lost the conference championship to Williams … There’s no pressure on us right now because we realize we’re going into the three-day NESCAC championship meet with all the same advantages and disadvantages as all the other teams. The meet is no longer ours to lose as it was last year. Instead, it’s now ours to win.”