COMMERCE, Calif. (Feb. 25, 2018) – Sophomore Thomas Gallup (Houston, Texas / Phillips Exeter Academy) wrapped the 2018 SCIAC Championships by winning the men's 200 Breast for the second time in as many years on Saturday evening. Gallup's victory helped the men's swim & dive team to a repeat sixth-place finish, though the Beavers scored 420 points after just last year scoring 341 to notch the same finish among SCIAC teams. Caltech needed just 28 more points to usurp Occidental College for fifth, though the narrowed gap showcases just how much the men have improved since 2017.
Gallup turned in a performance representative of his consistent Caltech career thus far, touching the wall at 2:02.49 to hold off two Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges swimmers tailing him and reach the podium once again in the 200 Breast. Gallup's strong start proved key, as he posted the second-fastest 50 Breast split but was the only swimmer to post a sub-31 the second time around (30.70). Holding the lead at the halfway point gave Gallup the confidence to swim his race and add yet another SCIAC medal to his collection.
The final day of SCIAC's began with the men's 1650 Free, which saw Caltech freshman Adam Kogan (Clifton Park, N.Y. / Shenendehowa East) swim his first conference championship mile. Kogan finished ninth in a field consisting of 30 SCIAC swimmers and in the process broke a 19-year-old program record originally held by Eagle Jones. Kogan touched the wall on Saturday in 16:20.01, smashing Jones' record by nearly half a minute and setting the 1000 mark within the confines of the same race (9:49.81) to top off a career day for the freshman. Senior Avikar Periwal (Savannah, Ga. / Savannah Country Day) also swam the mile and swam as fast as he ever has over his four-year Caltech career (17:01.96) to place 18th.
Later, junior Dylan Lu (Kingwood, Texas / Kingwood), positioned as the top seed in the 200 Back 'B' final, won the race in 1:53.45. The Caltech record holder in the event edged out his old record by just under a fifth of a second and further cemented his status as one of the more prolific backstrokers in program history. The win also earned his team 10 points. Freshman Andy Rothstein (Potomac, Md. / Winston Churchill) also swam in the 'B' final after setting the Caltech record in the 100 Back earlier in the Championships. His 1:55.56 fell nearly in line with his preliminary time, good enough to set a new personal best for himself.
The Beavers' freestlyle tandem of junior Jonathan Willett (Edina, Minn. / Edina) and freshman Alex Janosi (Ann Arbor, Mich. / Dexter) qualified for the 100 Free 'A' final earlier in the day and finished seventh and ninth in the event respectively. Willett came in a third of a second off of Henry Baer's school record at 46.28 and should be knocking on the door of the record one more time as he turns to his impending senior season. Junior Henry Steiner (Petaluma, Calif. / Casa Grande) entered the 200 Fly 'B' final as the race's top seed and came away with a third-place finish (1:54.82).
The final event of the day came when the Beavers took to the pool for the 400 Free Relay. Veterans Willett and Gallup teamed with rookies Kogan and Janosi to once again set a new program record (3:05.25), improving on the old record by three seconds. The improvement is evident in the freshman additions, as both Kogan and Janosi swam the team's two fastest first 50 splits in the race. Anchoring the team, Janosi, the new Caltech record holder in the 200 Free, swam the fastest 100 split of the bunch (45.57) en route to a sixth-place finish. The Beavers topped teams from Chapman University and Whittier College, and less than two seconds separated the group from CMS' second-place quartet.
Other PR's for the Beavers came in the preliminaries and included freshman Jethin Gowda (Orange, Conn. / Amity Regional), who swam the 100 Free in 55.76, just over four seconds faster than he has all season. Other PR's in the same event included sophomore Ayan Bandyopadhyay (San Jose, Calif. / Bellarmine College Prep) (58:07), senior Vishveshwar Subramanian (Melbourne, Australia / American Embassy School, New Delhi) (59.94) and junior James Deacon (Santa Barbara, Calif. / Home School) (1:08.07). Junior Adam Dai (Santa Barbara, Calif. / Dos Pueblos) lowered his 200 Breast time on the season to 2:13.85 in the prelims, which is right in line with his career best of 2:13.23 set last year. Freshman John Wang (Louisville, Ky. / Phillips Exeter Academy) swam the same event and lowered his top time by four seconds (2:19.88) while senior Alexander Bourzutschky (Potomac, Md. / Montgomery Blair) set a new season best by two seconds (2:36.97). Freshman JD Walker (Grand Blanc, Mich. / Grand Blanc) managed to lower his top time in the 200 Fly prelims by nearly nine seconds, with a new time of 2:00.94.
Gallup and his teammates now will eagerly await the official news as to which swimmers qualified for the NCAA Championships, which will be revealed in the next week. Head Coach Paul Hughes' Beavers now own all but one men's swimming record and will graduate just three swimmers this year, returning all swimmers who made the SCIAC podium this week.