ORANGE, Calif. (Jan. 31, 2015) – The Caltech men's swimming and diving team recorded its first win of the season in a resounding 167-116 victory at Chapman University on Saturday morning.
"We've had a lot of very close battles all season, but we've kept working extremely hard and deserved to get a win like this," Head Coach Jack Leavitt said. "Our depth allowed us to really distance ourselves in the events we won and it didn't let them get too far ahead in the few we lost."
Senior Benjamin Grabowski (Lake Forest Park, Wash. / Inglemoor) and freshman Alexander Bourzutschky (Potomac, Md. / Montgomery Blair) turned up the intensity right away on the 3-meter board. Although the pair would finish a distant second behind Chapman's Joey Luba, each improved on last week's showing. Grabowski netted an additional six points thanks to an impressive forward one-and-a-half tuck and back somersault straight that both earning 30-plus points, while Bourzutschky posted a 128.9 for a whopping 40-point improvement, including a season-best score of 25.5 on his reverse somersault tuck.
"The divers upped their degree of difficulty on many dives today and overall saw the improvement we wanted," Diving Coach Ute Zimmerman said.
Caltech caught a big break in the first swimming event as Chapman's 400 Medley Relay team was disqualified, essentially spotting the Beavers 15 points heading into the rest of the meet. The Panthers pulled back three with a first-place finish in the 1000 Free, but both freshman Avikar Periwal (Potomac, Md. / Montgomery Blair) and senior C.J. Culpepper (Leonardtown, Md. / Leonardtown) easily outdistanced the next Chapman swimmer for second and third place, with Periwal dropping four seconds for a career-best 11:12.70 to edge out Culpepper by .33.
The Beavers got a big boost from a sweep of the 200 Free by sophomore Chris Bradley (Half Moon Bay, Calif. / Serra), Culpepper and freshman Richard May (Guilford, Conn. / Choate Rosemary Hall), who shaved one second for a career best.
A 1-2 finish in the 100 Back brought Chapman back within 20 at 53-35, with freshman Philip An (Troy, Mich. / Troy) dropping over a second to break the 1:00 barrier for the first time, but junior Kevin Yu (Seattle, Wash. / Lakeside) stepped up in the 100 Breast, out-touching the Panthers' top finisher by a mere .15 to take first place.
"Kevin was huge in the 100 Breast and later in the 100 Fly," Leavitt said.
The Panthers bounced right back with a win in the 200 Fly, but freshman Henry Baer (Lafayette, Calif. / Acalanes) matched that in the 50 Free and followed that with another win in the 100 Free after the break. An kept the momentum going in the 200 Back, dropping another two seconds off his best time to lead a sweep of the event. Chapman took first in the 200 Breast but with no other swimmer entered, allowed the Beavers to cancel out the nine points with a 2-3-4 finish.
"We were definitely counting on our medley relay and the sprints coming into today," Leavitt said.
Culpepper and Yu notched wins in the 500 Free and 100 Fly, respectively, extending the margin to a nearly insurmountable lead. The Panthers gained two points on the Beavers with the 1-meter competition, with Bourzutschky continuing his rapid improvement with a personal-best 128.90 (with a new season-best 27.2 coming on his inward somersault tuck), but with just two events remaining, even a 1-2 finish in the 200 IM and 1-3 in the 400 Free Relay would not put a dent in the final score.
Leavitt and the Beavers will host California Lutheran University in their final meet of the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 10:30 a.m.