Feb. 2, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - With their team maintaining a slim 141-140 advantage heading into the final event of the afternoon, No. 18 MIT's 400-yard freestyle relay swimmers knew that anything less than a first-place finish would spell defeat. Fortunately for the home team, the quartet of Luke Cummings, Jeff Zhou, Peter Wellings and Laurent Charpentier touched the wall 0.95 seconds ahead of the runner-up squad from No. 20 Amherst College, as the Engineers defeated the Lord Jeffs, 152-146, on Saturday afternoon in Zesiger Pool.
The Cardinal and Gray clinched the decisive 11 points with the victory in the penultimate relay, as the squad finished the race in a time of 3:09.01. Although Amherst secured both second and third-place finishes in the event, the six points earned was not enough to overtake the Engineers.
The victorious dual meet served as the last of the season for MIT, which pushed its overall record to 7-1 to conclude the campaign. Meanwhile, the Lord Jeffs fell to 5-2 with the loss.
Sophomore Rastislav Racz and senior Kalvin Kao helped solidify the win for the Engineers with a pair of 1-2 finishes in the breaststroke events. In the 100-yard, Racz finished first in a time of 59.65, while Kao followed right behind at 1:01.57 to give the Cardinal and Gray a lion's share of the points. The 200-yard provided a virtually identical result, with Racz (2:10.43) beating out Kao (2:11.31) for the win.
Kao, who was participating in the final home dual meet of his intercollegiate career along with fellow senior captain Harrison Hall, made his meet even more memorable by grabbing a first-place finish in the 200-yard individual medley. The Santa Monica, Calif., native won the event with a personal-best time of 1:58.37.
Zhou and rookie Michael Dobson were also key contributors for the Engineers, as each won a pair of individual events. Zhou swam faster than all of his competitors in the 100-yard backstroke (54.75) and the 100-yard butterfly (53.30), although he narrowly defeated Amherst's Tad Homchick by a mere 0.08 seconds in the latter. Meanwhile, Dobson once again took top honors in the 500-yard (4:42.78) and 1000-yard (9:56.23) freestyle events.
Charpentier picked up MIT's other individual victory, winning the 100-yard freestyle in a time of 47.71, while the 200-yard medley relay team of Zhou, Racz, Cummings and Toomas Sepp was also triumphant (1:37.90).
Head coach Dawn Gerken was delighted with the result of the meet and reserved special praise for her seniors.
"Congratulations to our seniors," she said. "They are a phenomenal group of student-athletes who have really helped build great tradition and pride in the MIT Swimming and Diving Program."
Tech will return to the pool on Saturday, Feb. 9, when it will travel to Middlebury, Vt., to participate in the Middlebury Invitational at 1:00 p.m. Amherst will also next compete on Feb. 9 at 1:00 p.m., as it will host Springfield College.