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Men's NESCACs, Day 3: Bobcats finish in 7th place

Matthew Gagne '15 finished his 100-yard butterfly time trial in a Bates record time of 49.48 seconds on Feb. 24, 2013. File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College.

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- The Bates men's swimming and diving team placed seventh, its third straight top-seven finish, as the NESCAC Championships concluded Sunday at Wesleyan. The day was marked by a special award for senior captain Travis Jones, as well as a seventh team record being rewritten.

"They fought very hard this weekend, and outperformed the expectations that many had," wrote head coach Peter Casares on the team blog, The Bobcat Chronicle.

Sophomore Matthew Gagne (Winnetka, Ill.) swam a time trial in the 100-yard butterfly, in which he broke his own team record. Gagne finished the trial in 49.48 seconds, slicing .43 seconds off the mark he set a year ago.

Jones (Ithaca, N.Y.) took fifth place in the 3-meter diving event, scoring 433.10 points in morning prelims, then scoring 428.10 points in the finals. At the meet's conclusion, Jones was awarded Four-Year High Point Diver honors, for outscoring all other seniors at the meet over the past four years.

First-year Porter Harrast (Decatur, Ga.) placed 11th at 3 meters with 311 points.

Other notable performances for the Bobcats on Sunday included:

  • Senior Andrew Buehler (Kenilworth, Ill.) finished 15th in the 1,650 freestyle in 16:54.36, while sophomore Alex Smachlo (Rexford, N.Y.) was 16th at 16:58.87.
  • Junior Venkatesh Duvvuri (South Orange, N.J.) placed 16th in the 200 fly, in 1:56.94.
  • Senior Matt Johns (Seaford, N.Y.) placed 18th in the 200 back, at 1:56.38.
  • Gagne, Duvvuri, Johns and senior Nick Karlson (Wayland, Mass.) finished eighth in the 400 free relay in 3:11.42.

Bates finished the meet with 675.5 points, trailing sixth-place Bowdoin (769.5) and well ahead of eighth-place Hamilton (525).

"Many times the third day (and fifth session) of the meet can break a team due to complete exhaustion," wrote Casares. "These guys were ready once again. There have been few peaks and valleys this year with the men's team -- they have been steady and always moved forward with their work ethic and vision for success."

Saturday Recap

Bates set four more team records on the second day of the 2013 NESCAC Championships at Wesleyan.

Andrew Briggs broke his second Bates breaststroke record in as many days on Feb. 23, 2013 at the NESCAC Championships. File photo by Michael Bradley/Bates College.

The Bobcats started off the evening session with a sixth-place showing in the 200 medley relay, meanwhile setting the team record in the event with a time of 1:33.14. In fact Johns saw to it to set Bates' 50-yard backstroke record on the opening leg, becoming the first Bobcat to go under 24 seconds at 23.92, topping Dan Aupi's former mark of 24.13 set a year ago (Johns' second team record in as many days). Johns, sophomore Andrew Briggs (York, Maine), Duvvuri and Karlson replace the former record of 1:35.37 set in 2011 by Johns, Aupi, Won Ho Chang and Ned Scott.

Gagne finished sixth in the A Final of the 100-yard butterfly in a national B cut time of 50.02 seconds, .11 short of the team record he set a year ago. Duvvuri finished 11th in 51.11.

Briggs broke a 21-year-old team record formerly held by Jon Dreibelbis for the second straight day, when he swam his preliminary heat in the 100 breaststroke in 58.67 seconds to eclipse Dreibelbis’s mark of 1:00.20 set in 1992. Briggs missed the A Final by two spots and finished 13th overall with a B Final time of 59.94 seconds. Sophomore Andrew Seaton (Wayne, Pa.) placed 19th in 1:00.76.

Following a prelim time of 53.44 seconds, Johns swam the C Final of the 100 backstroke in a blazing 51.86, eclipsing by .42 seconds the former team record of 52.28 set by Aupi a year ago.

Smachlo (Rexford, N.Y.) placed 14th in the 1,000 freestyle, in 10:05.73.

Bates finished off Day 2 of the meet with a ninth-place finish in the 800 free relay, with Gagne, Johns, Duvvuri and Smachlo finishing the race in 7:09.77.

Bowdoin slipped ahead of Bates into sixth place heading into the final day of the NESCAC Championship, just 14 points ahead of the Bobcats, 547.5 to 533.5.

Friday Recap

Bates started out the 2013 NESCAC Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships on Friday in excellent form, setting three team records, including one all-conference performance.

Gagne swam the third-fastest prelim time in the 50-yard butterfly, at 22.79, then finished third again in the A Final of the event in 22.62 seconds, breaking the team record of 22.71 set by Chang in 2011. Gagne earned his first All-NESCAC (top three) honor with the performance. Duvvuri also made the A Final in the event with his prelim time of 23.14. Duvvuri finished the A Final in 23.20 for seventh place.

Briggs swam the fourth-fastest preliminary time in the 50-yard breaststroke and broke a 21-year-old team record in the process at 26.60 seconds. Briggs finished seventh in the final at 26.95. Bates’ former record of 27.20 seconds was set by Dreibelbis in 1992.

Bates finished the evening session with a sixth-place showing in the 400 medley relay finals in a team-record time of 3:26.92. The quartet of senior Johns, Briggs, Gagne and Karlson went nearly three seconds under the former team record of 3:29.68 set in 2009 by Chris Berry, Alex McKeown, Scott and Aupi.

Other Friday highlights for the Bobcats included:

  • Jones placed eighth in the 1-meter diving finals with 386.30 points, after scoring 390.20 in prelims. Harrast came in 10th with 352.45 points in prelims.
  • Karlson swam the ninth-fastest prelim time in the 50 freestyle at 21.34 seconds, moving to the B Final and swimming that in 21.30 for 11th place, just .02 short of breaking Aupi’s team record of 21.28 from 2010.
  • Johns came within .09 seconds of resetting another Bates record held by Aupi, finishing the B Final of the 50-yard backstroke in 24.22 seconds.
  • Bates placed sixth in the 200 free relay finals to begin the evening session, with Karlson, Briggs, Duvvuri and Gagne finishing in 1:25.58.