After over a year of no competition, the Hopkins men’s swim team traveled to Newark, N.J. on April 11 to race against the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Highlanders.
The Jays started the meet off with a bang, opening with the 400 Medley Relay. The team of juniors Max Chen, Jeff Vitek and Dylan Wachenfeld and senior Nat Davenport took first with a time of 3:20.37. The freshman team of Jay Heymann, Reef Ide, Justin Limberg and Chris Seymour proved to be just as competitive, as they took third, going 3:25.87.
In the 1000 Free, freshman Kellen Roddy smashed his competition, finishing in 9:35.92 — a whopping 16 seconds ahead of second place. Sophomore Alec Caswell took fifth with a 10:08.75.
Hopkins swept the top three in the 200 Free. Sophomore Kyle Wu took first with a 1:40.43, followed by junior Collin Hughes with a 1:41.98 and sophomore Steven Rua with a 1:44.11.
A similar sweep happened in the 100 Back. For his first collegiate win, Ide took first with a time of 51.64, followed by senior Matt McGough with a 52.33 and Heymann with a 53.15.
Ide said his win was a good indication of his improvement and how he would continue to progress.
“The rewarding feeling I felt afterward didn’t come from winning; it came from knowing I raced the way my coaches and I had been training,” he said. “It was a solid swim to gauge what my next steps are to become better.”
In the 100 Breast, Chen went 54.24, a first-place finish and the third fastest time in Hopkins history. Sophomore Tristan Lin came in at second with a 56.01, and Limberg took fourth with a 57.71.
Taking first and third in the 200 Fly were Vitek and Seymour, clocking in at 1:49.05 and 1:54.87, respectively. Then in the 50 Free, Davenport took second with a 21.76 and sophomore Spencer Ryan took fourth, going 21.93.
The Jays continued their dominance with a two-three-four finish in the 100 Free. Hughes finished second with a 46.71, Rua in third with a 47.38 and Ryan in fourth with a 49.22.
For the 200 Back, Wachenfeld took first, beating the field with a 1:48.77. McGough took third in 1:55.14, and Heymann finished fourth, going 1:57.85.
In another top-three sweep, Wu and Chen took first and second in the 200 Breast respectively; their times differed by three-hundredths of a second. Sophomore Brandon Stride came in third with a time of 2:07.34.
Earning his second collegiate win, Roddy swam a 4:41.01 to come in first in the 500 Free. Vitek followed, getting his second win of the day in the 100 Fly, going 49.24. Ide finished third with a 50.72.
Vitek mentioned the preparation that led to him winning the medley relay, as well as his two individual events.
“My mindset this year has always been ‘I’m going to get out and race,’” he said. “I’m not going to care as much about the times, ‘cause I might not be where I was last year time-wise, but if I can just beat the person next to me and score as many points for my team — that’s my main goal.”
In the 400 IM, Wachenfeld got his second individual win and also went a personal-best time of 4:04.49. Lin came in second with a 4:10.26.
Closing out the meet with the 400 Free Relay, Hopkins continued to reign supreme. Taking first with a time of 3:05.62 were Hughes, McGough, Wu and Vitek. Davenport, junior Mitchell Simmons, Rua and Ryan finished second with a 3:10.62.
Ending with a score of 178-112, the Jays proved that even with the hardships of an irregular season, they can be called upon at any time to pull out a win.
Wu reflected on the lack of a full season and the team’s plans moving forward.
“This season is all about rebuilding — getting back into the swing of things for returning members and welcoming the freshmen on campus,” he said. “The most important thing for me this season is just enjoying the opportunity that we’ve been given, making the most of it and having as much fun as possible with my teammates.”
Coach Scott Armstrong expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to race.
“Thank you to NJIT for inviting us and hosting an outstanding meet. What a special gift for these men to get a chance to race,” he said. “They seized on the opportunity, and I couldn’t be prouder of the energy brought to every race.”