Hilltoppers Turn Back Yellow Jackets in Men's Swimming

ATLANTA (Feb. 4) – Western Kentucky held off a Georgia Tech rally to claim a 122.5-114.5 win in men’s swimming against the Yellow Jackets Friday at the Preston Center in Bowling Green, Ky. The Hilltoppers improved to 11-0 with the win, while Tech fell to 4-6 on the season.

Tech captured wins in the 1,000 freestyle, 200 butterfly, 500 freestyle, 200 breaststroke and 400 freestyle relay, but couldn’t overcome WKU wins in the first relay event and both of the diving events.

Jacket freshman Shilo Ayalon (Kfar Hannassi, Israel) continued his sensational first year on the Flats as reset his own school record for a third time in the 1,000-yard freestyle by swimming a 9:22.49 to win the event. The mark was also a new Preston Center record as well. Ayalon won the 500 freestyle in 4:36.88 and now has 15 victories to his credit this year.

Sophomore David Laitala (Richardson, Texas) got untracked as he won the 200 butterfly in a Preston Center record time of 1:52.31, and he also scored a victory in the 200 individual medley in 1:53.87. Freshman Tomonori Tsuji (Osaka, Japan) won the 200 breaststroke and missed tying the Preston Center record by .01 of a second as he finished in 2:03.91.

“We had some very good swims today but just came up short,” said third-year head coach Seth Baron. “We competed a with a very good team, but have to give them credit for doing what it took to capture the victory. David Laitala really stepped up when we needed him today, and Shilo Ayalon and Tomonori Tsuji continued outstanding freshmen seasons.”

Tech trailed by 25 points midway through meet before making a run at Western Kentucky by winning three of the last five events and capturing second place in the other two events. The win was a milestone for WKU coach Bill Powell, who moved into a tie for third place on the NCAA career victory list.

Tech’s Results:
400 Medley Relay: 2. GT-A (Oliver, Tsuji, Laitala, Silver), 3:28.13; 4. GT-A (Lenyk, Foster, Gersbach, McQuinn), 3:33.90

1,000 Freestyle: 1. Shilo Ayalon, 9:22.49; 2. James Salazar, 9:48.45; 3. Leo Salinas, 9:50.56; 4. Hank Longmire, 9:51.31

200 Freestyle: 3. Josh Hersko, 1:44.72; 5. Scott Lenyk, 1:46.45; 6. Mark Campbell, 1:46.75

50 Freestyle: 3. Jorge Oliver, 22.30; 4. Ross Dye, 22.37; 6. Eric Hunter, 22.45

200 individual medley: 1. David Laitala, 1:53.87; 3. Carl Nylander, 1:57.90; 4. Travis McQuinn, 2:00.31

1-Meter Diving: 3. Ben Danneman, 182.85; 5. Dustin Thorn, 146.45

200 Butterfly: 1. David Laitala, 1:52.31; 2. Brady Skaggs, 1:53.37; 6. Charles Gersbach, 1:58.95

100 Freestyle: 3. Josh Hersko, 48.35; 6. Eric Hunter, 48.98; 7. Ross Dye, 50.24

200 Backstroke: 2. Scott Lenyk, 1:54.05; 4. James Salazar, 1:55.19; 5. Jorge Oliver, 1:56.17

500 Freestyle: 1. Shilo Ayalon, 4:36.88; 2. Leo Salinas, 4:44.08; 4. Hank Longmire, 4:48.02

3-Meter Diving: 2. Ben Danneman, 203.40; 5. Dustin Thorn, 152.50

200 Breaststroke: 1. Tomonori Tsuji, 2:03.91; 3. Ross Dye, 2:08.34; 5. Robert Foster, 2:10.52

400 Freestyle Relay: 1. GT-A (Silver, McQuinn, Campbell, Hersko), 3:12.01