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Middlebury men's swimming, diving teams headed to NESCAC Championships

Middlebury College will challenge for the NESCAC crown this weekend when the 2013 NESCAC Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships get underway. The three-day meet begins on Friday, Feb. 22, with preliminary heats in the morning and championship races in the evening at the Wesleyan University Natatorium in Middletown, Conn.

Middlebury College will challenge for the NESCAC crown this weekend when the 2013 NESCAC Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships get underway. The three-day meet begins on Friday, Feb. 22, with preliminary heats in the morning and championship races in the evening at the Wesleyan University Natatorium in Middletown, Conn.

— Middlebury College will challenge for the NESCAC crown this weekend when the 2013 NESCAC Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships get underway. The three-day meet begins on Friday, Feb. 22., with preliminary heats in the morning and championship races in the evening at the Wesleyan University Natatorium in Middletown, Conn.

Williams won the 2012 Championship with 2,011 points. It was only the second time in championship history that the Ephs cracked 2,000 points. Amherst finished as runner-up for the second consecutive year with 1,959 points. Tufts took third place with 1,030 points.

The Ephs return all four men who won six individual events and three relays a year ago, including two-time Swimmer of the Meet Paul Dyrkacz (Wilbraham, Mass.). The senior will look to defend his titles in the 200-yard breaststroke and 200 and 400-yard individual medley. With a NESCAC and Samuelson-Muir Pool record in the 200-yard breaststroke a year ago, Dyrkacz’s best competition will come from a pair of Ephs in sophomore Timothy Lattimer (Wilton, Conn.) and first year Knox Young (Renton, Wash.). Williams also returns defending champion Thad Ricotta (Katy, Texas). The sophomore took the 200-yard butterfly a year ago and will face competition from Tufts first year Anthony Debenedetto (Hopkinton, Mass.) and Amherst junior Tyler Bulakul (Bangkok, Thailand). Amherst first year Jeff Anderson (Stamford, Conn.) could upset both Dyrkacz and Ricotta’s repeat attempts.

With Ryan Lichtenfels of Amherst graduated, the 500 and 1,650-yard freestyle will be up for grabs. In the 500-yard freestyle, Williams senior Tom Vieth (Louisville, Ky.) and Debenedetto could easily take the title. Amherst sophomore Sam Cagenello (West Hartford, Conn.) will attempt to keep the 1,650 title with the Jeffs. Williams sophomore Christian Gronbeck (Simsbury, Conn.) won the 1,000-yard freestyle last year and will look to defend his title, along with challenging the field in the 500 and 1,650 events. Teammate John Armstrong (Gladwyne, Pa.) will challenge Gronbeck, with Amherst sophomore Ben Grimes (Louisville, Ky.) also being competitive in the 1,000-yard freestyle.

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