March 18, 2007
HOUSTON, Texas - MIT's men's swimming and diving contingent received more All-America performances from senior Craig Edwards and freshman Rastislav Racz on the final day of competition at the NCAA Championships on Saturday, as the Engineers powered to an 11th-place national finish. Edwards grabbed a fourth-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke, while Racz placed sixth in the 200-yard breaststroke.
Kenyon College won an unprecedented 28th consecutive national title, easily outpacing the other 54 scoring schools by amassing an incredible 570 points. Runner-up Denison University notched 351 points, while Emory University rounded out the top three with 318.
The Cardinal and Gray captured 108 points over the three-day competition and were edged out of the top 10 by the University of California at Santa Cruz in the final event. UC-Santa Cruz needed to win its consolation heat in the 400-yard freestyle relay to the leapfrog the Engineers into 10th-place, and it did just that, taking the top spot by a mere .04 seconds. The 18 points earned by the victory gave the Banana Slugs 110 - just enough to bump Tech out of the top 10.
It was another successful day of swimming for MIT, however, as both Edwards and Racz broke Institute records en route to All-America status.
Edwards, who entered the 200-yard backstroke with a seed time of 1:52.20 and a national-ranking of ninth, broke his own MIT mark in prelims, touching the wall at 1:50.34 to finish fourth. He then matched that finish in the finals, clocking in at 1:50.75 to earn 15 points and nab All-America recognition for the fourth time in three days.
Not to be outdone, Racz also earned his fourth All-America honor of the weekend in the 200-yard breaststroke. The first-year competitor entered the event with a season-best time of 2:05.07, placing him eighth in the national rankings, but bested himself by shattering the Institute record with a time of 2:03.04 to place him seventh in prelims. He then one-upped himself, touching the wall at 2:02.73 in the finals to notch a sixth-place finish and 13 points.
Before Racz, the school record in the 200-breast was 2:08.47, set by Matt Angle last year.
Freshmen Jeff Zhou and Luke Cummings also secured All-America recognition in two relay events earlier in the competition, meaning that every Tech swimmer at the championships earned the prestigious honor.
Head coach Dawn Gerken couldn't have been more proud of the way that her team swam over the course of the weekend, as well as the season as a whole.
"It was really a great way to end the season and the competition," she said of MIT's 11th-place finish. "For the three freshmen, it was a wonderful experience and a great start to their careers, while for Craig, it was a terrific end to a magnificent four years of swimming for our program."