Men’s Swimming Surges to Second Place at NESCACs
The Jeffs had a strong start on day one of the three-day tournament. Bryson Alef ’14, Ben McBratney ’12, Tyler Bulakul ‘14 and Ryan Lichtenfels ’12 opened the day with a sixth place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The Jeffs had solid swims in the 50-yard events, with McBratney winning third in the 50 breaststroke, Bulakul coming in eighth in the butterfly, and Reid Fitzgerald ’11 and Daniel Schwab ’13 taking second and sixth in the backstroke. McBratney’s time of 26.36 put him in a three-way tie for the school record.
Lichtenfels broke another school record in the 200-yard individual medley. His time of 1:51.54 put him in second place, broke the seven-year-old record and earned him an NCAA “A” cut. Following right behind in third place was Conor Beaulieu ’14 with an NCAA “B” time of 1:53.79. Junior Bart Federak came in fifth.
Alex Fraser was the first Jeff to win a NESCAC title. He won the 500-yard freestyle for the third year in a row with an NCAA “A” time of 4:29.22. Teammates Connor McAuliffe ’14, Parker Moody ’14, Tim White ’12 and Ryan Colby ’11 earned third, fifth, seventh, and eighth place finishes. All four earned NCAA “B” cuts for their swims. Diver Colin White ’14 placed second in the 1-meter event while classmate Ian Stahl took sixth.
The highlight of the day was the quadruple record-breaking 400-yard medley relay. Fitzgerald, McBratney, Bulakul and Fraser have been dominant in this event all season, and bested the field by two seconds. Their time of 3:20.82 was four seconds faster than their preliminary time and broke the school, pool, meet and NESCAC records. The Jeffs were in second place behind Williams at the end of the first day of competition.
Day two featured four more titles for the Jeffs, though they still trailed behind the Ephs at the end of the day. The winning 400 medley relay team of Fitzgerald, McBratney, Bulakul and Fraser joined forces again to win the 200-yard medley relay. They beat runner-up Middlebury by just three one-hundredths of a second. Their time of 1:31.84 broke the pool and school records and earned them a provisional NCAA qualifying time.
McAuliffe earned his first NESCAC title in the 1,000-yard freestyle. His 9:28.92 was one-tenth of a second ahead of the second-place finisher from Williams and almost twenty seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Lichtenfels and Beaulieu placed second and third in the 400 individual medley. Lichtenfels qualified automatically for NCAA’s with his 3:57.90 and Beaulieu earned a provisional cut. Bulakul and McBratney placed sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 100-yard butterfly.
Fraser picked up his second individual title in the 200-yard freestyle, also for the third time in as many years. He swam an NCAA “A” time of 1:39.24. White and Moody placed fifth and sixth. McBratney placed second in the 100-yard breaststroke with an NCAA “B” cut of 57.24 with Federak and Mike O’Connor ’12 placing fourth and eighth. Fitzgerald took third in the 100 backstroke with a provisional qualifying time of 50.82. The Jeffs finished the day with a win in the 800-yard freestyle relay. Lichtenfels, White, Moody, and Fraser swam a 6:43.54 or an NCAA “B” cut and a new pool record.
Lichtenfels opened the third day of competition with the NESCAC title in the 1,650-yard freestyle for the third year in a row. His 15:31.84 finish set a new pool record and was 12 seconds ahead of the runner-up, teammate White. Both White and Lichtenfels automatically qualified for NCAA’s, while McAuliffe came in fourth with a provisional qualifying time. Schwab and Fitzgerald took second and third in the 200-yard backstroke, both with NCAA “B” times. First-year Peter Landefeld finished fifth.
Fraser won his third NESCAC title of the meet in the 100 freestyle. This was his second title in this event. His provisional qualifying time of 45.07 was just three tenths of a second ahead of the runner-up. Federak won third in the 200 breaststroke with O’Connor and Beaulieu taking fifth and sixth. Bulakul came in fourth in the 200 butterfly. Colin White placed second on the 3-meter board with a score of 452.25. Lichtenfels, McBratney, Fitzgerald and Fraser closed off the weekend with a fifth-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Williams took home the NESCAC title with a score of 1741.5. The Jeffs had a final score of 1614.5, almost 300 points ahead of third-place finisher Tufts and the highest NESCAC score in program history. Fraser, who racked up three individual titles and three relay titles over the weekend, earned Four-Year High Point Swimmer honors. He, McAuliffe, Lichtenfels, McBratney, Bulakul, White and Moody will all go on to swim in the NCAA Div. III Championships at the end of March.