Men’s Swimming Takes Seventh at Nescacs


Zack Einhorn


The men’s swimming and diving teams took seventh place in the Nescac championships last weekend, Feb. 23-25, at Bowdoin. Swimming powerhouses took the top three spots, with Tufts in first place, Williams in second and Amherst in third.

Williams has perennially dominated Nescacs, winning the past 16 conference championships, but Tufts ended Williams’ reign last weekend in Brunswick, Maine.

Mike Chirico ’20 had a second-place and third-place finish on the boards in the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events for the Panthers. Chirico set the tone for the Panthers last Friday, the first day of the meet, as his 468.10 point performance in the 1-meter competition got him a “B” cut qualification for NCAAs and garnered him all-Nescac honors.

Chirico’s teammate Will Greene ’19 placed in the top five of the 1-meter even, doing so with 387.30 points.

Sunday brought Chirico even more success, as he took third in the 3-meter diving event as he racked up 447.90 points. Chirico added another notch on his accolate belt as his performance earned him all-Nescac honors for 3-meter diving as well.

Other top 10 performances came from both relays and individual performances in the pool.

On Friday, the opening event consisting of Will Pannos ’20, Keegan Pando ’21, Brendan Leech ’19 and Alex Smith ’18, finished the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:25.61, good for 10th place. Later in the day, the relay comprised of Charles Quinn ’20, Leech, Pannos and Connor McCormick ’18 had a solid 7th-place finish in the 400-medley relay in a time of 3:36.51.

Two more relays placed in the top 10 at Saturday’s meet. Pannos, Leech, Stefan Pla ’18 and Kevin Santoro ’21 placed seventh in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:34.12.

Four more Panthers saw a 10th-place finish in the 800-freestyle relay: McCormick, Morgan Matsuda ’19, Zach Einhorn ’21 and Alec Wilson ’21.

Wilson also finished 10th in in the 1000 free, touching the wall with a time of 9:43.06. On Sunday, Wilson followed on his successful performance in the 1,000 when he took part in the 1,650 free and registered a time of 16:18.43, good for an eighth-place finish.

Santoro placed seventh in the 100 backstroke with a time 51.52 on Saturday, which he followed with a fifth-place performance in the 200 backstroke on Sunday where he touched the wall at the 1:50.42 mark.

To end the weekend, Pannos, Leech, Cory Jalbert ’21 and Alex Smith competed for the Panthers in the 400 free relay. Their time of 3:07.17 got them a ninth-place finish.

“It was a great feeling to podium in some of the relays this weekend,” Leech said. “We knew we worked hard over the course of the year and the prep these last few weeks got us ready to turn some heads at the meet. It was really cool to look at the board and see so many people having lifetime bests.

“We’ve been training since the first week of classes in the fall so we’ve had almost six straight months of work leading up to this meet,” Leech said. “Coach kept telling us we had ‘put in the work” so we were confident that we’d swim fast once we got the chance to rest.”

Pannos was very excited to finish in the top-eight with his relay teams and the men’s team as a whole.

“Placing in the top eight was excellent not only for our relays, but for the team overall,” said Pannos. “For the brief moments you’re on the podium, knowing everybody has worked their hardest and scored crucial points for the entire team is undoubtedly a special feeling. Hopping out of the pool, you’re greeted by congratulatory, energetic teammates who you know are genuinely glad about your success. From then on, all you can do is cheer for the remainder of the race. Once it’s all over and everybody sees the final time and place, it’s extremely gratifying to collectively celebrate the product of all our hard work.”

Pannos also reflected on the Panthers’ season as a whole.

“This year, our training prepared us very well for Nescacs, as we showcased a great deal of impressive swims. It wasn’t easy by any stretch.There were countless early mornings, double days, lifts, brutal practices, and a long, strenuous training trip over winter break, all of which tested us as individuals and as a team. Through dedication and fantastic support from one another, however, we persevered and came out united with a common goal.

“Once we were rested and ready for this past weekend,”continued Pannos, “It was obvious that we were about to perform better than we ever had in the past, and it showed in all the impressive times, races, and overall spirit we exuded throughout the entirety of the meet.

“Though at times the training was unrelenting and seemingly endless, it’s all quickly put into perspective once the final meet ends and you realize that all the blood, sweat, and tears you’ve put into the sport this season have come to fruition. It reminds you of why you committed to swimming in the first place.”