Dec. 6, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – MIT’s men’s swimming and diving team provided an early glimpse of its postseason potential with a commanding win at the two-day MIT Winter Invitational this weekend. Finishing nearly 200 points ahead of second-place NYU, the Engineers produced seven NCAA cuts.
Luke Cummings set the tone for the Engineers on Friday after breaking Zac Lee’s school record in the 50 free. Cummings swam a blistering 21.14 to break Lee’s record of 21.19 set in 1998. Laurent Charpentier nearly provided a second record for Tech’s sprint corps as he equaled his own Institute mark of 46.11 in leading off Tech's 400 free relay. Both times yielded NCAA cuts and carried over to a successful national-qualifying bid in the 200 free relay.
Improving its seed time by three seconds, the team of Cummings, Jeff Zhou, Peter Wellings, and Charpentier swam 1:24.12 for an easy victory in the first race of the three-session meet. Cummings notched his school-record in the lead-off leg of the race while Charpentier brought home the victory with a split of 20.67. Although the free relays appear solid for a postseason run, the 400 free relay of Charpentier, Andrew Pierson, Zhou, and Wellings swam 3:08.94 for another comfortable win, the medley relays are arguably the team’s biggest strength.
The Engineers secured wins and NCAA cuts in both the 200 and 400 medley relays. Behind Tim Stumbaugh’s lead-off backstroke split of 53.36, MIT completed the 400-yard circuit nearly seven seconds ahead of its closest competitor in 3:26.80. Rastislav Racz, Zhou, and Charpentier rounded out the Engineers’ contingent with Charpentier splitting a meet-best 44.99 to anchor the race.
The Cardinal and Gray enjoyed a similar dominance in the sprint medley, riding Jeff Zhou’s lead-off split of 23.81 to a four-second win and a time of 1:33.06. Racz, Chapentier, and Cummings rounded out the strong effort by supplying the fastest splits of the race in their respective strokes.
Charpentier capped a phenomenal weekend with another NCAA qualifying mark in the 200 free. Opening the race with a first 50 of 23.77, Charpentier remained steady until touching the wall in 1:42.14 en route to the win. Charpentier factored into five victories and five national cuts to pace the convincing two-day team victory.
Brett Boval also secured an NCAA B cut in the 100 fly with a clip of 51.14. He narrowly missed out on the win in what turned out to be a highly competitive race, but he did lead a strong pack of MIT swimmers that gobbled up four of the top six spots.
Stumbaugh picked up two individual wins over the weekend while leading a virtual sweep of the backstroke events. He split 54.33 to edge out teammate Ryan TerBush in the 100, and split 1:57.92 to pace a 1-2-3 finish for MIT in the 200. Jim Griffin finished second in the race, and TerBush third, while all three swimmers eclipsed the two-minute barrier.
Racz, who finished second in the 100 breaststroke, rebounded to win the 200 with a time of 2:11.54. Alejandro Dos Reis finished second overall in 2:13.77.