Men’s, Women’s Swimming and Diving Fall to Amherst

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Men’s, Women’s Swimming and Diving Fall to Amherst

Women’s swimming and diving fell by 30 points to Amherst. The men lost by 122. (Campus/Jessica Munyon)

Women’s swimming and diving fell by 30 points to Amherst. The men lost by 122. (Campus/Jessica Munyon)

Women’s swimming and diving fell by 30 points to Amherst. The men lost by 122. (Campus/Jessica Munyon)

Women’s swimming and diving fell by 30 points to Amherst. The men lost by 122. (Campus/Jessica Munyon)

By Fritz Parker

The Middlebury swimming and diving teams hosted conference rival Amherst for a dual meet on Saturday, Dec. 1, with both squads falling to the visiting Lord Jeffs. The men were defeated soundly by a 208-86 margin, while the women were a bit closer, losing 162-132.

“We probably had the heaviest week of training that I’ve given this group since I’ve been here,” said head coach Bob Rueppel. “If you watched the meet itself, we were right in every race. I was very pleased.”

On the men’s side, Middlebury got a big boost from a pair of first-year swimmers, with Carter Pribis ’16 winning the 100-meter backstroke and Stephan Koenigsberger ’16 capturing the 200-meter breaststroke. Ian Mackay ’14 finished second in both the 50m free and 100m butterfly, while Andy Rosenthal ’16 (1000-meter free) and Harry Anixter ’13 (200-meter backstroke) also recorded second-place finishes. The 200-meter medley relay of Pribis, Koenigsberger, Mackay and Ethan Litman ’13 came within two seconds of the team’s time from NESCACs a year ago, while finishing just .2 seconds behind the squad from Amherst.

“The guys’ medley is coming together, and with two first years on it, which is exciting,” said Rueppel. “To see the younger guys be able to handle that responsibility is the most exciting thing. To see their progress from two weeks ago to now is huge.”

For the women, Middlebury captured six events on the afternoon, with Jamie Hillas ’15 winning both the 100 and 200-meter breaststroke. Hillas’ time in the 100 was faster than she swam at last year’s NESCACs, in which she won the event en route to All-NESCAC honors.

“I expected my time to be a little faster than last week’s, but I didn’t think that I would come that close to my best time or beat my NESCAC times,” said Hillas. “I have only had a few races that I can look back on and be truly satisfied with. This was definitely one of those races, but I have to remember that it’s only the beginning of the season and I still have a lot of things to work on.”

Hannah King ’13 (one and three-meter diving) and Maddie Pierce ’16 (200 backstroke) also won individual events for the Panthers, as the 200 medley relay team of Pierce, Hillas, Maddy Berkman ’15 and Ann Carpenter ’15 finished first.

“I’m extremely excited,” said Rueppel. “It’s only going to help the entire group to realize that just because we’re tired, just because we’re training at a high level, that doesn’t mean we aren’t able to swim fast. We had a lot of kids this weekend who had breakthroughs.”

Overall, the women swam significantly closer with Amherst then they did a year ago, when a 46-point loss was their only one of the dual-meet season.

“I think our team now knows that we have a really good chance of beating Amherst at NESCACs,” said Hillas. “They have some great swimmers and really great depth, but we proved this weekend that we can be just as fast. It’s crazy to think how fast we’ll be when our juniors from abroad come back.”

The team heads on the road this weekend for a meet at Springfield on Saturday, Dec. 8. After their training trip in Florida over the winter break, the Panthers return in January to face the bulk of their season.

“The key is this week to keep our focus as best we can on training,” said Rueppel. “This weekend with Springfield, they’re a good non-conference opponent. Close that out well and we’ll be pretty satisfied with the first section.”

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