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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, March 2, 2024

Men's and women's swimming and diving off to a strong start, first and second place finishes in opening meet

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The Tufts swimming and diving teams brought strong competition to the MIT Winter Invitational in December 2021.

While the majority of the Tufts community was settling back in after Thanksgiving break, Tufts swimming and diving were hitting the pool. Over the course of three days, both the women’s and men’s teams competed at high levels, finally, with the men’s team winning the meet by a margin of 1010–937 over the host MIT and the women’s team coming in second overall. Additionally, swimmers from both teams broke various school records. 

First-year swimmer Armaan Sikka shared his thoughts on the meet. 

“I thought we had a great weekend. Honestly, one of the best weekends I've had in a long time,” Sikka said. “As a team, we had a great competition as well. We won overall, with the [men’s team] beating MIT and the rest of the universities, … and the [women’s team] came second.”

On the first day of competition, Tufts swam a “B” cut time and finished first in the women’s 800 yard free relay with a time of 7:24.75, swam by senior Katelin Isakoff, first-year Lily Klinginsmith, senior Chloe Deveney and senior Claire Brennan. The ‘Bos men’s team also snagged first in the same event with a “B” cut time of 6:39.22, composed of sophomore Ethan Schreier, first-year Armaan Sikka, sophomore Eric Lundgren and junior Eli Houlton. Later in the solo events, first-year Madeleine Dunn won her first collegiate race with a “B” cut time of 17:00.14 in the women's 1650 yard free, breaking the Tufts record time. 

The ‘Bos continued their success throughout the weekend with other notable finishes like Schreier who later on Saturday broke his own school record from the 2022 NCAA Championships in the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:47.16. Klinginsmith shattered another record in the 100 butterfly winning her race and earning a “B” cut time of 54.83. On Sunday, Isakoff also won the women's 500 freestyle for the Jumbos coming in at 4:56.18. 

While the whole team competed at a high level over the course of the meet, one standout, in particular, was sophomore swimmer Eric Lundgren. Not only did Lundgren break his own school record of the 200 backstroke on Sunday, but he also broke the 100 backstroke school record on Saturday as well. Lundgren also led the ‘Bos to their only Sunday win with a first-place finish in the individual 200 medley swim.

Lundgren also swam in the winning 800 freestyle relay team that started the men’s meet off on a high note Friday night. He shared some of his personal highlights of the weekend.

“We were just really excited after that race, everyone was super fired up. And I think that really paved the way for our success for the rest of the meet,” Lundgren said. 

Lundgren continued to talk about his own weekend successes and what led the Jumbos to their performances. 

“We've been working really hard. All throughout preseason, in lift and in the pool. ... This was the first preseason semester in a while where we haven't had too many restrictions and so I think everyone was just super excited to have that full training available to us and I really think we made the most of it,” Lundgren said.

In addition to the five relays and freestyle events, Sikka swam the 100 butterfly in 48.47, earning a “B” cut in the event. As a new addition to the team, Sikka talked about the team chemistry this season. 

“Oh, it's amazing. I've spoken to so many of my teammates. I've never actually had such a big team with 80 of us, including the women's team. It's such a great environment, just in terms of motivation, [and] in terms of everybody holding each other accountable,” Sikka said. “I just feel so included. And I think that's really the big thing that made me want to join Tufts was the inclusion and the diversity in just the university itself and to see that in the sport that I love is just amazing.”

Capping off a very successful first meet for the Jumbos, Lundgren and Klinginsmith earned NESCAC accolades both being named the Swimming and Diving Performers of the week. This is the first honor for both athletes, starting the season strong for Tufts.

To wrap up their first semester of competition, the Jumbos will look to face off in a quad meet next weekend facing rivals Williams, Wesleyan and WPI at Wesleyan University.  Following this meet, there will be no rest for the ‘Bos as they head into their winter break training session. Lundgren discussed how he feels about this upcoming time. 

“I'm personally looking forward to the training trip over winter break, we're down in Florida for that and that's just two weeks where all you have to worry about is swimming. And it's just a great chance to get a huge chunk of training in,” Lundgren said.