UMass finishes at the top of Dartmouth Invitational

By Nick Bellofatto

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Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

The Massachusetts men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs split up this past weekend to participate in the Dartmouth Invitational. The swim team traveled to White River Junction, Vt., to swim in a brand new facility, while the diving team headed to the Dartmouth campus to compete.

The Minutemen showed once again why they were voted the preseason favorite in the Atlantic 10 conference this year by placing first at the invitational.

Scoring just over 1,000 points in the tournament, the Minutemen defeated Bryant, Dartmouth, Boston College and Maine to secure their second invitational victory this season. With the Big Green as the runner up in their own tournament, BC, Bryant and Maine finalized the standings by placing third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

The Minutewomen came up a little short and allowed the hosting Big Green to be the victors in the tournament. The Dartmouth women’s team was in control of the tournament for both days, scoring 1,165 points to take a commanding first-place finish. The Minutewomen scored 835 points, which was good enough to take second place, leaving the Eagles in third, the Black Bears in fourth and the Bulldogs in fifth.

At the start of the second day of competition, the Minutemen were in first place and Dartmouth was trailing right behind them. The team of Joey Sbordon, Chris Inglis, Troy Nichols and Derek Hursch allowed the men’s team some breathing room by placing first in the 800 freestyle relay.

The performances allowed UMass coach Russ Yarworth to better understand what a swimmer’s tendencies are, as well as who should be paired up with who in such team events.

Although winning is always at the forefront of any competitors mind, both coaches noted that these regular season tournaments are more of a preparation for A-10 championships than anything else. Since the early days of the season, the coaches have stressed the importance of these tournaments in preparing their swimmers both physically and mentally for the A-10 tournament.

By gaining a better understanding of what certain athletes on the team are capable of, it is much easier for the coaches to set their lineups for the different events.

Along with the swim team, the Minutemen divers continued to dominate as Jason Cook and Adam Duffield took first and second in the one-meter and three-meter dives, respectively.

The Minutewomen also had a strong day on the diving boards, with sophomore Molly Elkins placing second in both the one-meter and three-meter dives.

Yarworth explained that such supremacy in the diving events must be accredited to diving coach Mandy Hixon and the great job she has done over the past 10 years at UMass.

The Dartmouth Invitational was the last tournament that the Minutemen and Minutewomen will compete in before the A-10s take place from Feb. 24-27 in Buffalo, N.Y.

Both teams are heading to Fordham on Saturday to take on the Rams in their final dual meet of the regular season.

Nicholas Bellofatto can be reached at [email protected]