With the first half of the season concluding, the Massachusetts men’s swimming and diving team (1-4) was not able to finish strong in its meet, falling to Yale, 213-87, on Saturday.
Coach Russ Yarworth told UMassAthletics.com, “We certainly gave a lot of effort but the performance wasn’t quite what we needed to keep up with Yale today. Yale was very prepared for the meet so hats off to them.”
Senior Alexander Merkulov was the standout for the Minutemen, taking first place on the diving boards in the one-meter event with a score of 297.59, and the three-meter event with a score of 329.70.
With these victories, Merkulov, a Westfield native, earned a total of 18 points for the team.
When asked about leading the team, Merkulov discussed how he’s progressed.
“It’s great,” Merkulov said. “I mean I came in as a freshman being like the worst one on the squad and just improved over the years.”
Teammate Josh Koppel remained in the top three in both of his diving events, taking third place with scores of 257.55 in the one-meter and 266.03 in the third-meter.
Merkulov says he has a great relationship with Koppel and that he’s learned a thing or two
“We’re great friends,” Merkulov said. “He’s a freshman and I’m a senior. He kind of learns from me, and I get to teach him a few things.”
In the lanes, UMass senior Peter Sacco placed second in two races. He clocked in at 21.52 in the 50-yard freestyle and 46.80 in the 100-yard freestyle.
Sophomore Gabe Davis finished second in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 52.20.
The Minutemen even took the second spot in the 200-yard freestyle relay, finishing at 1:26.44.
With a month of training ahead of them, UMass will be in Puerto Rico on Jan. 5 for the Loyola Invitational and competing in the Rhode Island Invitational on Jan. 11.
Judd and Smyth lead Minutewomen
With three individual wins, sophomore Zoe Judd earned a total of 27 points to propel the UMass women’s swimming and diving team (3–2) to a 158-142 win over Northeastern on Friday.
Judd won in the 50-yard, 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle swims, clocking in at 24.92, 53.36, and 1:54.76.
Teammates Amina Meho and Anna Cavanaugh finished behind Judd in the 100-yard freestyle event at 53.86 and 54.29.
Molly Smyth continued the momentum, finishing first in the 1000-yard freestyle with a record time of 10:25.23. Katie Orr followed her in second at 10:41.28.
The Minutewomen also placed in the 500-yard freestyle. Smyth touched the wall first at 5:08.07, while junior Anna Cavanaugh came in at 5:09.26 to take second.
In diving, UMass took the top three spots in the one-meter dive. Senior Michaela Butler took the top spot with a score of 277.27, Molly Elkins scored a 250.42 to take second and Rachel Dushman took third with a score of 222.89.
Butler came in first in the three-meter dive, coming in at 267.97.
The Minutewomen travel to Puerto Rico for a training trip and will be back in the pool Jan. 11 at the Rhode Island Invitational.
Kaitlin Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @MDC_Boyer.