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Swimming prepares for Stony Brook

With the bicycles running on the upper deck, and the Massachusetts men’s swimming team operating them, the relay was close.

The women, at the tail end of their practice race, were being treated to booming cheers from the bikers.

“My boys are rambunctious,” said UMass men’s coach Russ Yarworth.

Yarworth and women’s coach Bob Newcomb hope that energy carries over to this Saturday’s dual meet against Stony Brook.

“Every race is going to be close,” said Newcomb after the relay finished. “After that work out, I think we’re looking at that.”

Both sophomore Chelsea Downing and freshmen Julie Magyar beat their bests in 500- and 1000-yard freestyle last week at Army. Molly Papish also bested her 500-freestyle time.

After improving their times the last two weeks, the coach is looking for the long-distance freestyle group to continue to compete.

One way Newcomb wants the entire team to get better is in their lap exchanges. He noted that the past few weeks haven’t gone as planned in starts and turns.

“Last week’s starts were horrible,” Newcomb said. “We’re looking to improve – we need good exchanges in February [for the Atlantic 10 championships]. I’d rather see a false start, because that means we’re being aggressive about it.”

The women’s team will be swimming the 400-yard individual medley, in the place of the 200-yard IM, on Saturday – for the first time this season. Also they are returning to the 200 medley relay from the 400-yard medley last week at Army. Junior Jennifer Corriveau will open the race, joined by senior Elizabeth Walsh, sophomore Sarah Kanellas and freshman Amina Meho.

“I want that relay quicker,” said Newcomb, who expects a two-second improvement this weekend.

Rather than new races this weekend, the men are using new racers. Yarworth wants to test out new water on the men’s side.

“This meet is about racing skills and in different events,” Yarworth said. “I just want to see them all in the pool.”

Yarworth highlighted a few changes, including freshmen Jorge Fortin and Sasan Tehrani.

Fortin, last week’s sole first-place-finisher, is adding 500-yard freestyle to his schedule. Tehrani will be swimming the 400-yard IM.

Fellow freshman Kyle Jennings, a backstroker who finished right behind junior Max Butler in the 200-yard backstroke last week, will be missing the meet due to flu symptoms.

This will mark the second home meet of the season.

“Despite limited facilities, we’re comfortable here,” Yarworth said.

Last week’s away meet at Army had a warm-up pool, which UMass does not have.

“This week is about the evaluation process,” said Yarworth, “but we’re ready to bring it to the swim pool.”

Massachusetts will be hosting Binghamton on Nov. 7, a second straight home meet, which Newcomb finds different.

“It’ll be nice to be home on Saturday night,” Newcomb said.

Daniel Herberholz can be reached at danielherberholz@gmail.com.

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