Swimming: Shorthanded men can't catch up against Middlebury

A few strong individual performances highlighted the Middlebury meet. Junior diver Jordan Bowling remains undefeated on the boards. In the three-meter event he finished first with 207.23 points and followed up that win with a score of 246.38 on the one-meter. Bowling’s presence will only become more important as the season lengthens and gives way to the postseason; last year, the absence of an experienced diver cost Amherst important points at the NESCAC Championship Meet. The Panthers’ top diver on Saturday was Michael Young, who finished second in the three-meter and third in the one-meter. Young finished fifth in both events at NESCACs last year, and Bowling’s wins as well as first-year Connor Boyd’s third- and second-place finishes bode well for Amherst’s future.

Junior Bryan Woo also continued to swim well, winning the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events and swimming the third leg of the second-place 400-yard medley relay. In the 50 freestyle, Woo out-touched Middlebury’s John Rayburn in just over one-half second with a time of 22.30. Sophomore Ethan Treat has been Amherst’s third consistent performer during the first two meets. Treat won the 200-yard individual medley and the 200-yard butterfly with times of 1:59.46 and 1:59.30, respectively. He bested the competition in the individual medley by over three seconds and finished over five seconds ahead of second-place finisher teammate Elan Ghazal ’05 in the 200 butterfly.

Also scoring important points for Amherst were Gach, co-captain Chuck Clinton ’05, Colin Porter ’05 and John Ancona ’07. Gach took second place in the 1000-yard freestyle and also placed fifth in the 200-yard breaststroke. Clinton, despite battling flu-like symptoms, swam the anchor leg of the second-place 400 medley relay and took third in the 200 and 100 freestyle races. Porter swam the anchor leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay that placed third in addition to taking fifth in the 500-yard freestyle and second in the 200 freestyle.

Both co-captains were impressed by Ancona’s performance in the 200-yard breaststroke. “John Ancona had a good 200 breast despite his second place finish,” said Clinton.  Added Gach, “Although I’m sure he felt some disappointment, I was extremely proud of John for the way he went after that race and I know that a performance like that is a strong indication that John will experience continued success throughout this season.”

Despite the loss, Gach’s faith in Ancona is indicative of his and Clinton’s faith in this team. “This is a good team,” Gach emphasized. “So as far as improving on anything, all I would say is that we need to do a better job of getting up and racing than we did at Midd.” Clinton echoed his co-captain but added, “Maybe we could use a little more consistency but it’s really too early in the year to judge. We had a hard week of training and I think people were still broken down.”

The Jeffs play host to the Colby College White Mules at 2 p.m. on Dec. 11. It will be the first NESCAC meet of the season for the young, winless Colby team. “We want to use the Colby meet to get back on track and get a win in the last meet before we get our abroad guys back,” said Clinton. After facing Colby, Amherst has a break from competition until a non-conference meet against Union College on Jan. 2. The Jeffs’ first NESCAC meet of 2005 is against the Williams College Ephs on Jan. 8.