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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, February 26, 2024

Swimming shows early promise at MIT Invitational

Men place first, women place second, with solid performances across events.

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A Tufts swimmer is pictured at the MIT Invitational on Dec. 2.

The Tufts men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams had strong starts to their season at the MIT Winter Invitational over the weekend. The men’s team came in first place out of five teams, and the women’s team came in second place out of seven teams. The men’s team ended with 1,875 points, beating runner-up MIT’s 1,567.5 points. The women’s team ended with 1,348.5 points, losing to MIT by 591 points but beating third-place team Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute by 512.5 points.

Many of the swimmers were excited about their success and are hopeful about the rest of the season because of it. First-year Elena Harrison explained that the team’s success at MIT reflected positively on the work they’d put in during the early part of this season.

Especially because it’s only been a month and a half since the season actually started, I think it was very encouraging to a lot of us,” Harrison said. “It was a good display of the team spirit as a whole, since it was our first big meet all together.”

On Friday, both the men’s and women’s teams had impressive showings in the 1,650-yard freestyle. From the men’s team, first-year swimmer Rafae Shafi won and broke the school record of 15:38.87 with his time of 15:29.61. Sophomore swimmer Madeleine Dunn won the women’s race with a time of 17:02.40.

Junior Soeren Euvrard explained that he was excited about many of the times his teammates swam, especially first-years such as Shafi, and hopes to use his experiences from the MIT Invitational to continue to become a better swimmer and teammate.

“[It] was really cool to see freshmen swim really quickly and some past teammates, how they’re changing [and] how we can help them,” Euvrard said.

Saturday continued the Jumbos’ success. Junior swimmer Lara Wujciak won the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:02.10. She explained that she was happy with her performance at MIT.

This meet was a great start to my season,” Wujciak wrote in an email to the Daily. “I hit some lifetime bests and had a really fun time representing the Bo’s.”

On the men’s side, there were three first-place finishes on Saturday, including junior Eric Lundgren, who placed first in the 100 backstroke with a time of 48.71. Junior Ethan Schreier swam a 1:48.26 in the 200 butterfly, winning the event. The 400 medley relay, consisting of Lundgren, junior Emmett Adams, Schreier and graduate student Peter LaBarge, resulted in another event win for the Jumbos.

Sophomore Quinci Wheeler explained that relays are a very exciting part of the meet because they contain more teamwork than other events.

“I think our relays showed a lot of potential this weekend, and I’m excited to work on these more throughout the season,” Wheeler wrote in an email to the Daily. “The relays are always a highlight of the meet and carry so much energy, so it will be exciting to see them come together more as we move throughout the season.”

Three event victories on the final day solidified victory for the men’s team. Lundgren’s time of 1:46.55 won the 200 backstroke, and Euvrard won the 100 butterfly with his time of 48.27. First-year diver Jay Wilkinson also placed first in the three-meter event, scoring 500.70.

The MIT event lasted three days, with most athletes competing in multiple events per day, making it a test in endurance. Harrison explained that this presented a mental challenge that the swimmers needed to overcome.

Because it’s such a long meet, with so many events in such a short amount of time, what’s really important was … swimming as best as you can, doing your best, focusing on details and making sure to swim for your team rather than focusing on a specific time,” Harrison said.

In terms of mindset, junior Charlie Duffy, who broke the school record in the 100 breaststroke on Saturday, explained that it’s also important to have perseverance after a tough race.  

“It’s important for the team to understand that one swim doesn’t mean the rest of your swims during the meet are going to be bad, and one meet that’s not too fast doesn’t mean that the rest of your meets through the season are going to be bad,” Duffy said.

Tufts will continue its season against Williams, Worcester Polytechnic and host Wesleyan in a quad meet on Saturday.