GREENSBORO, N.C. – Tufts University junior Roger Gu was the first Jumbo to win an NCAA swimming title since 1982 tonight when he captured the 50 freestyle at the 2019 national championship meet.
Gu broke his own school and New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) record with a winning time of 19.49 seconds. He edged Emory University senior Trey Colleck (19.69). Gu is the first Jumbo national swimming champion since Jim Lilley won the 100 butterfly 37 years ago. Gu is the swimming & diving program's first NCAA winner since three-time champion diver Johan Schmidt was first in the 2014 one-meter event.
Ranked first in the 50 freestyle with a Tufts- and NESCAC-best time of 19.77 seconds entering NCAA's, Gu broke that mark in the preliminaries on Wednesday morning with a 19.69. He then took two-tenths of a second off that time to win the final Wednesday night.
"It's a surreal feeling, not just winning but the amount of love from everyone around me," Gu said from North Carolina. "I'm so absolutely blessed to be part of such a supportive community and couldn't be more thankful. The race felt great and it was a lifetime best so I can't complain. I'm proud to be a Jumbo and look forward to continuing to represent Tufts on a national stage."
Later in the evening, Gu anchored the 200 medley relay which finished seventh with a 1:29.44 time. They were just 0.18 off the school record set earlier this season at NESCAC's (1:29.26). Also in tonight's foursome was senior Kingsley Bowen, junior Matt Manfre and junior Costa Camerano. They had been eighth in the prelims (1:30.52).
With the two All-American (top eight) honors today, Gu now has three individual and five relay All-American finishes in his career. He was fourth in the 50 freestyle last year. He will swim in the 100 and 200 freestyles later this week, as well as with most Jumbo relays.
Bowen's relay All-American honor is his fourth as a Jumbo, to go with seven individual All-American awards. Manfre achieved his third relay All-American award and Camerano his second.
In the morning prelims, sophomore Tyler Tatro was 26th in the 500 freestyle (4:35.56). In the 200 individual medley trials, freshman Tar Tar Jarusinchai (1:52.91) and sophomore Nathan Mitchell (1:58.64) raced for the Jumbos. Camerano was also in the 50 freestyle competition, swimming 20.91 seconds.
With their 44 points scored in two events today, the Jumbos are sixth in the NCAA team standings. Denison leads with a 136 score. The national championship meet is in Greensboro, North Carolina at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
Gu's victory was the second individual national championship of the 2018-19 year for the Jumbos. Men's Tennis sophomore Boris Sorkin won the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Cup national singles title in October.
Tufts Men's Swimming has competitors in the 200 freestyle relay, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle and 400 medley relay on day two of the NCAA's Thursday.
Watch Roger Gu's NCAA 50 freestyle championship swim (lane 4) ...