MEDFORD, Mass. – The Tufts University men's swimming & diving team will be well represented at the NCAA Division III Championships.
|Lorenzo Lau is ready to compete at his first NCAA Championship.|
The 14th-ranked Jumbos will be sending nine competitors to the national championships on Wednesday-Saturday at the Conroe ISD Natatorium in Shenandoah, Texas, which marks the most Jumbos on the national stage since the 2009-10 season.
"It is always special to have athletes qualify for the national championships," head coach Adam Hoyt said. "Having nine men qualify for the meet with many swims is something extremely special for our program and speaks volumes about the entire team's competitiveness and work ethic."
Senior captain and diver Matt Rohrer will be making his fourth appearance on the national stage, as he looks to end his historic career in style. The Katonah, New York, native has claimed four All-American honors (top-eight overall) and a pair of honorable mention All-American honors (ninth through 16th overall) during his career in the national spotlight. The four-time All-NESCAC Team selection finished seventh overall off the 1-meter (460.90) and 3-meter boards (479.85) at the 2016 NCAA Championships last March.
Sophomore Kingsley Bowen will be making his second consecutive appearance at the elite meet, as he earned a pair of All-American accolades and one honorable mention All-American honor in 2016. The Pepper Pike, Ohio, native finished fourth in the 200-yard backstroke (1:47.69), eighth in the 100 backstroke (49.13) and 10th in the 100 butterfly (48.86).
Seven Jumbos will be making their debut at nationals, including juniors Zach Wallace, James McElduff and Lorenzo Lau, sophomore Noah Cagley, and freshmen Costa Camerano, Roger Gu and Eric Shi, as all seven swimmers were named to the All-Conference Team on Feb. 21.
"Out of our nine men, only one is a senior so it is a young group and many first-time qualifiers," Hoyt said. "It will be a great experience for our team and we are in a good position to put together one of our best team performances at the meet. We are looking forward to competing against the best in the country."
In opening-day action on Wednesday, Bowen, Shi, Wallace and Gu will compete in the 200 medley relay, while Gu will suit up for the 50 freestyle. McElduff and Wallace will take their talents to the 200 IM. On Thursday, Bowen, Shi, Wallace and Gu will work together in the 400 medley relay, while Camerano, McElduff, Wallace and Gu will compete in the 200 freestyle relay. On the individual side, Bowen will compete in the 100 butterfly, Rohrer will participate in the 1-meter diving event, and McElduff and Wallace will direct their attention to the 400 IM.
On Friday, McElduff, Wallace, Cagley and Bowen will gear up for the 800 freestyle relay, while Bowen will showcase his skill set in the 100 backstroke and McElduff will look to turn some heads in the 200 butterfly. Wrapping up the tournament on Saturday, McElduff, Bowen, Lau and Gu will compete in the 400 freestyle relay. Bowen and Wallace will look to put stamps on the tournament in the 200 backstroke, while Gu will compete in the 100 freestyle and Rohrer will finish up his career off the 3-meter board.
McElduff, who has competed at three NESCAC Championships, is ready to showcase his skill set. He turned some heads with an impressive performance at the conference championship on Feb. 17-19. He shattered two program records in individual-oriented events, which came when he grabbed first-place honors in the final of the 200 butterfly (1:49.39) and runner-up honors during the final of the 400 IM (3:57.95).
The Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, native additionally set program records with his relay unit in the final of the 400 freestyle relay (3:02.80, second overall), the final of the 800 freestyle relay (6:44.84, second overall) and the final of the 200 freestyle relay (1:22.02, third overall).
The junior standout will play a major role this week, as the Jumbos look to build on their 12th-place finish from last season. The Jumbos performance on the national stage in 2016 was the best since the 2005-06 season, when the team placed 10th overall.
"I am very excited to have the opportunity to swim at the NCAA Championships, and I am even more excited to be going with my teammates," McElduff said. "I try to not pay much attention to the expectations and pressure of the meet, but rather try to focus more on the excitement and energy of it. I find that we swim better when we focus on having fun and celebrating a year of hard work. We are all very excited to represent Tufts at the national level."
Written by Trevor Wenners, Athletic Communications Intern