Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Swimming and diving teams fall to BU

Owen Churchwell and Olga Egkorova with strong performances in loss, among others

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Swimming and diving teams fall to BU

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By Ben Painchaud, Collegian Staff

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After splitting last year’s showdown in Amherst, both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams fell to Boston University on the road Saturday, losing 365-235. In their second dual meet on the road, both team win streaks of two games was snapped, dropping both teams to 2-2 for the season.

In spite of the loss, men’s head coach Russ Yarworth and women’s head coach Bob Newcomb were optimistic about the performance of their respective teams. When asked how they thought their team did, the word “tough” surfaced immediately from both coaches.

“I thought we swam tough, we gave it a lot of effort, had a great attitude,” Yarworth said. “It wasn’t as fast as we’d hoped to [swim], but it’s a heavy training time of year…so all in all it’s a step in the right direction.”

After the meet, Newcomb asked his girls, ‘What did we learn?’

“A lot of them came up with things that they did better this week and things they have to work on for next week,” Newcomb said, “so it’s a progression and I was happy with where we were and the way we swam. We swam tough, we swam strong. It’s just another step in what we’re trying to do.”

Freshmen Owen Churchwell and Dias Konysbayev put forth strong performances for the men. In the 100-yard breaststroke, Churchill finished third with a time of 58:23 to complete a UMass sweep in the event, which saw Al Madden take second and Luke Gordon first. In addition to competing in the 200 backstroke and 400 IM, Konysbayev took part in the 200 freestyle and secured fifth place with a time of 1:46.35.

“I was really psyched with Owen Churchwell’s 100 breast,” said Yarworth. “He really popped off a nice swim so that was good to see. And then Dias Konysbayev had a really nice 200 free, which is what we’ve been looking for.”

Led by senior Ansley Baker, the women saw several of its competitors chip in admirable showings. Olga Egkorova, Rachel Grant, Maja Boric, and Katie Polk highlighted the Minutewomen’s effort.

“We had some people that I think did some exceptional swims and some very tough combinations,” Newcomb said. “We had Olga Egkorova, who swam 1,000 the 200 fly and the 400 IM. It’s a really tough triple event. We had Ansley Baker, who again had two wins in two events. Very strong in both of those. I think Rachel Grant had a good meet, she finished second in the 100 fly, good solid swim, learning how to do her turns better—that’s the big thing we’ve been working on.

“And I think down the other end of the pool, the divers…I think Maja [Boric] and Katie [Polk] won 1-2 on both boards and continued to do what they do so very well,” he added.

Looking to the future, the UMass diving squads will be participating in the Navy Invitational from Nov. 15 to 16, while the swimmers will partake in the Terrier Invitational from Nov. 16 to 18, for a chance at redemption.

In the meantime, the most important thing for both coaches is that their teams get sufficient rest.

“I think the biggest thing is we’ve got one more week of tough work, and then the nice thing is we let them rest,” Newcomb said. “I mean, these guys are exhausted. We had a great week of training, we’re gonna have another one coming up, and after that it’s giving them a chance to let their bodies recover a bit. And that’s what this weekend was all about.”

Two weeks from now, Yarworth fully anticipates that, “we’ll be much more prepared to swim fast because the fatigue level will be reduced. So, that’s where the improvement will come up is from the coaches letting them rest and letting them be ready to compete at a higher level.”

Ben Painchaud can be reached at [email protected].

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