Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 19:10
The Brandeis swimming and diving squads returned to business in their first home meet last Saturday.
In their first meet since 2010 and first home meet since four years ago last Saturday, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams didn’t just dip their toes in the pool in the Joseph M. Linsey Sports Center. The squad dove in head first, picking up 15 individual victories and one school record in a pair of losses against Wheaton College. The men lost 159-97, while the women were defeated 163-120.
“I was really proud of the team,” said Esther Tandetnik ’13. Tandetnik was on the team her first year prior to its suspension following the 2009-2010 season. “Even though we didn’t win the meet points-wise, we competed really well and gave them a run for their money.”
Max Fabian ’15, a recent sophomore transfer from Connecticut College, won three individual events for the Judges. The highlight was his record-breaking performance in the 1,000-yard relay. Fabian completed the race in nine minutes, 58.06 seconds, besting the record set by Hal Grossman ’06 by over six seconds.
The presence of Fabian, who also won the 500-yard freestyle in 5:02.22 and the 200 butterfly in 2:06.05, has been noted by coach and teammates alike.
“He’s training hard,” said Coach Michael Kotch of the newcomer. “He’s very coachable and very knowledgeable of the sport. I was proud of the way he went out there and competed. I thought it was a great way for him to start his Brandeis career.”
“[Fabian] has been working so hard in practice,” said Holly Spicer ’13. “He obviously has a lot of talent, and it is really exciting to watch him swim and hopefully fight for more records.”
In addition to Fabian's standout performances, Brian Luk ’16 also won three events for the Judges. The rookie dominated three sprint events, winning the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly.
Theresa Gaffney ’16 and Lauren Cruz ’16 each won two events for the Judges. Gaffney showed her endurance in excelling in the distance events, winning the women’s 500- and 1000-yard freestyle competitions. Cruz won the 200-yard freestyle in 2:05.94 and 200-yard backstroke in 2:25.02.
“It was great to see our freshmen stepping up and winning events,” Spicer said. “It wasn’t just the upperclassmen leading the team. That's what we as upperclassmen are happy to see—that we have a bright future with many capable underclassmen.”
Spicer won two different events in the meet, sweeping the women’s breaststroke events. She won the 100 in 1:11.27 and the 200 in 2:37.05.
“She swam well and swam hard,” Tandetnik said of her classmate Spicer, who was also originally on the squad before its suspension. “She definitely surprised Wheaton a lot with her ability.”
“[Spicer] had a great meet,” added Kotch. “She swam vey well given where we are in the season and where she left off as a freshman. I thought she did a great job.”
The talent of the underclassmen was quite evident, as the first-year and sophomore classes featured multiple victors for Brandeis, including David Lazarovich ’16 in the 100-yard breaststroke, Fallon Bushee ’16 in the 50-yard freestyle and Gabby Drillich ’15 in the 200-yard butterfly. Kotch believes that the success achieved by the younger members of the team is integral to the future of the program, saying that “those kids competing well really helps us this season, and it helps us in recruiting as we can hopefully continue to bring in kids at that talent level.”
While many of the individual performances were impressive, their individual point contributions weren’t enough to give the Judges the team victory. The Lyons have a much bigger squad than the Judges, meaning that many Brandeis swimmers found themselves racing alone against three Wheaton competitors in their individual events. Of Brandeis’ 15 wins, Wheaton finished second, third and fourth in 10 of them, demonstrating the sheer volume of competitors that the Judges were up against in their first meet.
“We were really happy with how we performed,” Spicer said.
“Our swimmers won a lot of individual events. We don’t have numbers yet, but we have individual talent, and we showed that this weekend.”
Kotch also made a point to hail the impact of the crowd that showed up to cheer on the team, which was largely supported by the newly-founded Brandeis Student-Athlete Advisor Committee.
“Any time you have the stands packed the kids definitely appreciate the support,” he said.
“It was great to have everyone out there. I think the team enjoyed that, and we hope that it continues.”
The Judges next compete this weekend at the Mini-UAA meet at the University of Rochester.