Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Men’s swimming and diving prevails against BU in nail-biter

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(Jessica Picard/ Daily Collegian)

The score was 141-140 in favor of the Massachusetts swimming and diving team when Ryan Pedrick, Michael Tartakovsky, Kyle Stefanides and Owen Wright stepped up for the final event of the meet with Boston University — the 200 freestyle relay.

The race, just like the meet itself, was too close to call until the very end. Wright swam anchor for the foursome which posted a time of 1:23.43, edging out BU’s 1:24.66 time to secure the win.

“I felt we got a really solid performance out of the sprinters,” UMass coach Russ Yarworth said. “And the [200-yard] IM did a nice job. We needed six points so we only needed to win the relay and that’s what they did.”

The Minutemen won several key races that pulled them ahead of the Terriers throughout the entirety of the meet, including an early 1-2 finish in the 100 backstroke, and another 1-2-3 finish three races later in the 50-yard freestyle.

Oliver Wyeth led the charge in the 100-yard backstroke, swimming a time of 50.94 seconds. Wyeth also earned first place with his role in the 200-yard medley relay, a third place finish in the 200-yard IM and a fourth place in the 200-yard backstroke—all which were crucial in this meet that came down to the wire.

“Days like this come down to mental preparation. We take care of ourselves during the week, and when it comes down to the final event it’s not just four guys that win it, but everyone that swam today,” Wyeth said.

“When an individual has personal success, everyone feels it,” he continued. “When someone catches a fourth [place finish], everyone drives off that, and that is what happened today.”

UMass will swim again on Nov. 17 at the Terrier Invitational.

Women’s swimming and diving pleased with performance, not result

On the women’s side, BU was dominant down the stretch, winning the last five first places in individual events and putting the meet out of reach by the 200-yard freestyle relay to cap off  a 160-140 win over the Minutewomen.

When asked what key events lost this meet for UMass, Minutewomen coach Bob Newcomb was quick to dismiss the idea that his team fell short in any race.

“It was not events,” Newcome said. “They had a couple more bodies. Injuries affected us at the end. BU blew us away last year, so I look at this as a big win. It gave us confidence—it really did.”

UMass has plenty to be confident about, especially with the strong performances by Ansley Baker and the diving team.

Baker provided the highlight of the day in the 100-yard freestyle, setting a Boyden pool record with 51.27 second finish. The previous record had stood since 2012.

“It was a great couple weeks of training that made me feel good today. It gave me confidence, but I still didn’t set my expectations high. I just wanted to get points for the team,” Baker said. “BU is always a great team to face. Against them you always know it’s a real race.”

Baker was part of four first place races, which included both relays, the 100-yard breaststroke, and her record-setting 100-yard freestyle.

It was after the Minutewomen placed 1-2 in the 100 free that they finally reversed a growing deficit, sparking excitement in the team and the spectators.

The divers of UMass collectively were the most impressive piece of the meet.

“[They were] all awesome,” Newcome said of his diving team. “Solid as a diving group I’ve ever seen.”

In both the diving events, the Minutewomen grabbed the top three spots with ease.

The placing in the 3-meter dive went Emma Roush (338.25) in first, Katie Polk (318.15) in second and Maja Boric (298.57) in third.

Another 1-2-3 finish came in the 1-meter dive from the same three divers. Boric performed with poise and earned 298.8 points to take first.

UMass will participate in multiple invitational tournaments before continuing its dual meets against Bryant in January.

Justin Ekstrom can be reached at [email protected]

1 Comment

One Response to “Men’s swimming and diving prevails against BU in nail-biter”

  1. Beverly on November 7th, 2017 5:01 pm

    Really good article! Must’ve been exciting to come down to the last race….good job Minutemen!! Keep up the good work.

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