PASADENA, Calif. (Feb. 4, 2017) – The Caltech men's swim & dive team wrapped up its regular season with a 142-127 dual meet victory over the University of La Verne on Saturday morning.
The Beavers won eight of 12 contested individual events and split the relays to overcome an automatic 18-point deficit due to La Verne fielding the only male diver of the meet. Freshman Thomas Gallup (Houston, Texas / Phillips Exeter Acad.) and sophomores Dylan Lu (Kingwood, Texas / Kingwood) and Henry Steiner (Petaluma, Calif. / Casa Grande) won two events each, with each also playing the lead role in late 1-2 finishes that clinched the meet.
The Beavers opened in a 9-0 hole as La Verne claimed nine automatic points on the 3-meter diving board, but quickly stated their intent in the 200 Medley Relay. Lu, Gallup, Steiner and sophomore Jonathan Willett (Edina, Minn. / Edina) pulled out a narrow .68-second victory, with Lu handing off a .01-second lead to Gallup, who crushed his opponent by nearly two full seconds to give Steiner and Willett the room they needed to hold on for the victory.
ULV posted an 11-8 edge in the 200 Free, but Caltech took control from that point. Lu notched a win in the 100 Back, followed by Gallup re-setting his own 100 Breast record for the second time this season with a 58.54 and teaming with sophomore Adam Dai (Santa Barbara, Calif. / Dos Pueblos) to record a 12-7 advantage in the event, as Dai out-touched a Leopard for third by .07. Steiner made it three straight individual wins with a dominant showing in the 200 Fly to put Caltech up by eight, 52-44.
Willett came up just short of first in the 50 Free, touching a mere .12 behind the winner, but junior Alexander Bourzutschky (Potomac, Md. / Montgomery Blair) and senior Kyle Seipp (Rockville Centre, N.Y. / Baldwin Senior) combined for three keys points (Seipp also notched a point in the 200 Free) to keep the Beavers in front, 59-56. The biggest highlight of the day came next in the 100 IM as all six Caltech swimmers touched before a single Leopard. Freshman Alex Moraru (Southlake, Texas / Carroll Senior) took top honors with a .05-second victory over both Lu and junior Hanzhi Lin (Potomac, Md. / Montgomery Blair), who tied for second to lock up max points in the event.
The 16-point cushion came in handy at the 1-meter diving break, after which La Verne trailed by just seven with the automatic nine-point tally. Caltech quickly regained the momentum with another three straight wins, including a pair of 1-2 finishes, and popped off another in the final individual event to put the meet out of reach. Willett posted by far his top time in the 100 Free this season, crushing his previous 49.52 by nearly 1.5 seconds (48.08). Lu and Moraru then combined for the top two spots in the 200 Back as Lu got under two minutes for the first time this year (1:59.79), followed by Gallup and Dai touching ahead of La Verne in the 200 Breast.
The Leopards took top billing in the 500 Free and 100 Fly, but with the meet already out of hand, Steiner and junior Avikar Periwal (Potomac, Md. / Montgomery Blair) slammed the door shut with another 1-2 finish in the 200 IM before the Beavers closed out the meet with a second-place finish in the 200 Free Relay.
Freshman Elisabeth Gallmeier (Oak Ridge, Tenn. / Oak Ridge) and sophomore Brittany Percin (Lake Tahoe, Calif. / Stanford Online) highlighted the shorthanded women's side of the meet, with Gallmeier clocking a near 4.5-second improvement in the 200 Free (2:12.59) while Percin trimmed .60 from her 100 Free time for a pair of particularly impressive individual performances. Senior Zofii Kaczmarek (New York, N.Y. / Stuyvesant) continued her incredible final term after studying abroad in the Fall, improving by five points on the 3-meter board and a whopping 28 on the 1-meter. She posted her best career score on either board in the 3m with a 43.7 on her back dive in straight position, then bettered that with a 44 on her inward one-and-a-half somersault tuck as he scored a 218.5 on the 1m thanks to stepping up her degree of difficulty as she completed her first double somersault. Sophomore Alix Espino (El Paso, Texas / El Paso) also posted another career-best dive with a 29.75 on her 1m back dive straight.
Head Coach Paul Hughes and the Beavers also bade farewell to its trio of seniors in Leon Ding (Blaine, Minn. / Spring Lake Park), Kaczmarek and Seipp, who will compete in their final meet alongside the rest of the team at the SCIAC Championships in Commerce, Calif. from Wednesday, Feb. 15-Saturday, Feb. 18.