March 16, 2007
HOUSTON, Texas - MIT's 400-yard medley relay team of senior Craig Edwards and freshmen Rastislav Racz, Jeff Zhou and Luke Cummings swam to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships on Thursday night, helping the Engineers to 14th-place out of 37 scoring schools after one day of swimming and diving. The quartet raised its national-ranking considerably, as the group entered the competition as the 11th seed.
Kenyon College has jumped out to an early lead at the event, which is being hosted by the University of Houston. The Lords, who are attempting to win an unprecedented 28th consecutive national championship, secured 154 points during the first day of competition. They lead second-place Emory University (125) by 29 points, while Denison University sits in third with 110. MIT has earned 26 points thus far.
Edwards, Racz, Zhou and Cummings stepped up their efforts on the national stage, earning sixth-place in prelims of the 400 medley relay with a time of 3:25.05 - over a full second better than their seed time. They then matched that finish in the finals of the event, touching the wall at 3:25.23 to earn all of the team's 26 points on the evening.
Earlier in the day, the same group of swimmers took part in the 200-yard freestyle relay, finishing 19th with a time of 1:26.32 and missing the cut for finals. They entered that event with a national-ranking of 17th.
Head coach Dawn Gerken was pleased with the results of the first day of the championships, saying that Tech's competitors set the stage to accomplish the goals that they aim to achieve.
"Our goal entering this competition was to earn a spot in the top-15," she said. "With each of the guys giving us a great leg in the 400 medley relay, they really put the team in position to reach that goal."
The competition will resume this afternoon with preliminary events, while finals will once again take place in the evening. The relay team will return to the pool to compete in the 200-yard medley relay, while a number of individuals will also represent the Cardinal and Gray. Edwards will swim the 100-yard backstroke (national ranking of 8th), Racz the 100-yard breaststroke (10th) and Zhou the 100-yard butterfly (22nd). Live results can be found all day at http://uhcougars.cstv.com/livestats/w-swim/ .