Swim and Dive head into home meet

by Gayne Kalustian | 1/8/15 7:47pm

Source: Kelsey Kittelsen

With two meets under their belts, the Dartmouth men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams head into their first home meet of the season against Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania this Saturday, led at the helm by backstroker James Verhagen ’16.

Verhagen is the lone holder of a first-place finish this season. Verhagen swam the 100-yard backstroke in 48.74 seconds at the team’s first midseason meet at Brown University. Without the ability to know what the A cut will be for the National College Association of Athletics meet, Verhagen believes he will have to get his time down to around a 46.4 seconds to qualify.

Nejc Zupan ’14, who has held nearly 10 records at Dartmouth, graduated last season and left the team without its most successful swimmer. To pick up the pieces, Dartmouth’s men’s team enlisted several freshman standouts, including Misha Tovmashenko ’18, Bruno Korbar ’18 and Tony Shen ’18. The team’s youngest class, especially the mid-distance and distance swimmers, is going to be one of the greatest weapons for Dartmouth during this and coming seasons, co-captain Ian Woon ’15 said.

Korbar took third place in the 500-yard freestyle by swimming a 4:32.71 in Rhode Island. Tovmashenko, who took eighth place in the 200-yard freestyle at Brown, was also a part of the record-setting 800-yard freestyle relay along with Woon, Shen and Aaron Athanas ’16.

The team took first in the event, and the 6:39.96 time knocked off a team record set last year by Zupan, Woon, Jack Long ’17 and Jun Oh ’16. David Harmon ’17 placed fifth in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:49.65.

The rising freestyle unit, Verhagen said, is putting the team in a good position to be competitive in relay and individual distance and mid-distance races against the bigger teams in the Ivy League.

Shen, who anchored the 800-meter relay team at Brown, took third as an individual in the 200-yard freestyle, swimming a 1:39.58 after taking second at the team’s opening meet against Harvard and Cornell Universities by swimming the same event in 1:40.12.

If the three strongest men could be combined into one swimmer, however, the result would be women’s swimmer AnnClaire MacArt ’18, who has emerged from her first two meets with seven top five finishes. Her high-ranking events, spanning from the 1650-yard freestyle to the 200-yard freestyle relay, make her a dynamic and speedy freestyle swimmer who can be relied on to bring home points across the board for Dartmouth.

“She’s insanely fast,” co-captain Siobahn Hengemuhle ’15 said. “We definitely need her in the distance events lately because two of our senior distance players graduated. It’s unbelievable how fast she’s going.”

While the high-scoring freshmen and Verhagen’s race to the NCAA tournament are the talk of the team’s success, injuries plagued some of the Big Green’s returning talent early in the season. Charlotte Kamai ’16, Brett Gillis ’16 and Daniel Whitcomb ’16 are all returning for the home meet this weekend.

During the team’s training trip, Kamai hurt her foot cliff-diving and had to take a break from swimming. Hengemuhle said it shouldn’t affect Kamai’s ability to sprint, but could potentially weigh her down during a longer event. Kamai, now in her third season at Dartmouth, anchored the 200- and 800-yard relays at Brown before the trip, earning third and second place, respectively. Additionally, Kamai took sixth in the 100-yard freestyle and eighth in the 200-yard freestyle at the same meet. She is only swimming the 50-yard freestyle and two B cut relays due to foot concerns.

Gillis, the team’s one-meter and three-meter record holder, took third in the one-meter dive and fourth in the five-meter dive during the Cornell and Harvard meet, but hit his head on the board at Brown. The accident necessitated a trip to the hospital and 32 staples in his head.

Whitcomb, who is currently a part of two school record relay times, has been unable to compete this season due to a concussion he suffered in practice caused by a kick from a teammate. He makes his returns this weekend for the home meet against Yale and Penn.