COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Depth and dominance in a key event lifted the Ursinus College men's swimming team to an entertaining 133-129 Centennial Conference victory over Franklin & Marshall on Senior Day.
Thomas Bantley, Daniel Becker, James Callaghan, Maxwell Coulter, Kevin Gill, Reid Luksic, Johnathan Myers, Devin Nielsen, and Travis Venables went out winners in their final meet inside the friendly confines of Elliott Pool, and had plenty to do with a result that was in doubt until the final race was over.
Franklin & Marshall won nine of 14 events on the day, but the Bears (5-2, 3-2) racked up enough second- and third-place swims to keep the visitors at arm's length. The hosts also provided a couple of historic moments as junior Jake Menzer (200 free) and sophomore Michael Prior (200 back) lowered their own pool records for the second time this season.
The Diplomats won the 200 medley relay to take an 11-6 lead after the opening event, but Ursinus turned the tide with a dominating 1-2-3 effort in the 1000 free and never trailed again. First-year William Clift led the Ursinus cavalcade with a time of 10:05.35, a PR by nearly 10 full seconds. Gill was second and freshman Matthew Seeburger third as the Bears gained a commanding advantage.
Menzer then broke his own pool mark with a 1:43.59 in the 200 free, edging his previous mark set last week against Susquehanna.
Prior was next with a win in the 100 back (52.60) before F&M went on a streak of three consecutive first-place finishes to make it a tight meet. Callaghan (2:00.23) and Myers (2:00.46) were second and third, respectively, in the 200 fly, while freshman Ryan Carkhuff was runner-up in the 50 free (21.84). Junior Jared Krawetz (48.36) and Lear (48.47) went 2-3 in the 100 free, after which the Diplomats had sliced the deficit to 77-73.
Prior put some distance between the teams with a record-breaking result in the 200 back, where his 1:53.65 was over a second better than his mark at the last meet.
Coulter and Luksic went second and third in the 200 breast to keep the Bears in front, 98-90.
Ursinus was in business after a 1-2 finish in the 500 free. Clift outraced the field with a 4:52.42, surpassing his personal best by more than five seconds, and Menzer was second in 4:57.98. That opened up a 113-94 margin and wound up being just enough separation for the home side.
Freshman Daniel Mueser was runner-up in the 100 fly, where his time of 51.43 would have been a pool record if not for a better swim by F&M's Brendan Cline (51.29).
Menzer took down another second-place showing in the 200 IM (1:58.01), giving Ursinus a 127-118 lead heading into the 400 free relay, the last race of the day.
F&M easily win the event, but Krawetz, Becker, Coulter, and sophomore Matthew Buccella placed second (3:16.38) and Carkhuff, Mueser, Lear, and Menzer were right behind in third (3:16.76), well ahead of the Diplomats' second unit.
The men's swimming team wraps up the regular season at Washington College on Saturday, February 2.