The Jumbos break Williams College’s 15-year lock on the title to take the top conference spot for the first time
The Tufts University men’s swimming and diving team won their first-ever New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship this past weekend, February 23-25, at Bowdoin College.
With the victory, head coach Adam Hoyt’s Jumbos broke Williams College’s fifteen-year streak of NESCAC championships. Tufts finished the three-day event with a team score of 1,671 points, beating second-place Williams, which finished with 1,590. The Jumbos, who had finished as the runner-up five times, led the competition at the end of all three days this year.
During the championship meet, the Jumbos earned seven event victories, set thirteen program records, three meet records, and one NESCAC record.
“To be honest, I’m speechless,” said Hoyt, who was named NESCAC Coach of the Year at the conclusion of the meet. “Williams has set the standard in NESCAC men’s swimming since the conference creation in 2000. Our team’s performance exceeded our expectations, which was needed to win the championship.”
Though the full twenty-four-man conference championship roster contributed to the victory, a few Jumbos stood out. Junior Kingsley Bowen swept the three backstroke events and had a hand in the 400-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay victories. Sophomore Roger Gu became the first NESCAC swimmer ever to time under 20 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle with a 19.95 winning mark. He was also a part of the first-place relays. Senior tri-captain James McElduff won the 400-yard individual medley and was also part of the victorious 400-yard freestyle relay foursome.
The others participating in the relay victories were sophomore Matthew Manfre and senior Zach Wallace in the 400-yard medley relay, and senior Lorenzo Lau with the 400-yard freestyle relay.
In addition to his conference record time in the 50-yard freestyle, Gu also established a conference championship meet record of 44.31 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle. Among the many other Tufts records set by the Jumbos, the 400-yard freestyle relay team of McElduff, Bowen, Lau, and Gu tied the conference championship meet record with a 3:00.79 time.
“It was a culmination of hard work, a high level of focus and great attitudes,” Hoyt said. “This year it all came together, and every one of our athletes stepped up to the challenge. I’m very proud, and we’re enjoying every minute of this special time.”
They’re not finished yet. Several Tufts individuals and relays recorded national qualifying times during the NESCAC championship. They will find out later this week who will compete at the 2018 NCAA Championships in Indianapolis March 21-24.
Paul Sweeney is sports information director at Tufts and can be reached at email@example.com, and Curtis Stoychoff is an intern in the Office of Athletic Communications.