UMass men’s and women’s swimming and diving earns second place finishes at Dartmouth Invitational

UMass men’s and women’s swimming and diving earns second place finishes at Dartmouth Invitational

By Justin Ekstrom

The Massachusetts men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams headed to Dartmouth College to compete in the Tate Ramsden Invitational last weekend. Even after solid performances, both teams could not edge out Dartmouth, as both the men’s and women’s teams placed second.

The highlight of the weekend was the diving trio of Emma Roush, Maja Boric and Katie Polk. They caught the eyes of the judges, dominating both the 1-meter and 3-meter dives. Roush scored 32 points with two first place dives, followed by Boric and Polk respectively in each event.

“I thought they dove exceptionally well over the weekend,” UMass coach Bob Newcomb said. “They were solid as always, and I think they’re setting themselves up [for the Atlantic 10 Championships] in a really big way.”

The team trained day-in and day-out over winter break, which led to successful performances by not only the divers but the entire team. UMass put in work on two training trips, the first stop being Dallas, Texas. They swam at Southern Methodist before heading to Tampa, Florida to train at a local aquatic club.

Other notable standouts at the Tate Ramsden Invitational included freshman Stephanie Judge, who out-touched Dartmouth’s Hi’ilani Hopkins by a mere .57 of a second in the 200-yard butterfly. She kept her composure and never gave up, as she was a half-body length behind at the 150-yard mark, but came back to grab 16 points for UMass.

“I think the response and what we’re getting now is a result of the quality of training that they’ve had and the consistency of it,” Newcomb said.

Dartmouth finished the meet in first with 768 points, followed by UMass with 750 and SUNY New Paltz with 237. Although the Minutewomen didn’t end either day in first place, they stayed focused, winning seven events the second day to make the meet as close as it was.

Fordham, an Atlantic 10 opponent who has beat UMass the last three years, is the Minutewomen’s last dual-meet opponent. The meet is scheduled for Saturday.

The men’s team won four events on the first day of the meet and finished with 835.5 points, but it was not enough to defeat Dartmouth who finished with 878.5.

The performance was anything but lacking for the Minutemen. Dartmouth had the advantage in first place victories, but UMass’ swimmers were able to excel in the relay and backstroke events.

The Minutemen took three of the top five spots in the 200-yard medley relay. In the fast-paced 200-yard freestyle relay, just over one second separated UMass’ victorious team of Owen Wright, Kellen Gray, Kyle Stephanides and Ryan Pedrick from the Dartmouth team that was right at their heels.

“We’re developing a team,” UMass coach Russ Yarworth said. “As you develop a program through recruiting and training, you hope to have depth at every event. Relays are usually star events because you’ve got to have your best swimmer in each event, especially in the medley relay. It’s great to have one, two, three kids in each stroke. It’s extremely beneficial.”

In the individual backstroke events, Oliver Wyeth and Chris DiGiacomo raced spectacularly, leading UMass to 67 points in the 100-yard backstroke and another 44 points in the 200-yard backstroke, which was the most of of any two individual events. Wyeth finished first in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 50.46 seconds, followed by DiGiacomo who finished in 50.64. DiGiacomo also finished second in the 200-yard backstroke.

The Minutemen received great performances from the sophomore class in the pool with Al Madden, Harry Ortof and Pedrick all contributed points with strong finishes.

UMass will also face Fordham at home this Saturday with the hope to finish the season with a win and go into the A-10 Championships even stronger. For Yarworth, though, this last meet is about more than winning.

“The first goal is to honor the seniors for making it through four years with me coaching them, and for us to just have a great experience with a good crowd.”

Justin Ekstrom can be reached at j[email protected].