Jackets tie school record for dual-meet victories with win over Western Kentucky
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech men’s swimming and diving team wrapped up a successful 2001 dual-meet season with a 164-130 victory over Western Kentucky on Saturday afternoon. The meet was held at WKU’s Raymond B. Preston Center.
With the win, the Jackets (11-3) tied the school record for dual-meet victories in a season. Tech last recorded 11 wins during the 1991 season, when head coach Brad Lehman led the Rambling Wreck to an 11-1 mark in his final season at the helm. The Jackets handed Western Kentucky (12-2) only its second loss of the year and defeated the Hilltoppers for only the second time in 11 meetings between the two programs. This season also marked Tech’s first winning dual-meet season since 1992.
The Jackets controlled the meet by winning nine of the 14 swimming events, including the first six events contested. Tech opened the meet by capturing the 400-yard medley relay, as the team of David Laitala (Richardson, Texas), Tomonori Tsuji (Osaka, Japan), Itai Eden (Qiryat-Ono, Israel) and Josh Hersko (Marietta, Ga.) won with a time of 3:25.00, the quartet won by just over two seconds.
Sophomore Shilo Ayalon (Kfar Hanassi, Israel) who captured both of the distance events in the meet, winning both by over five seconds once again led Tech. In his first race, the 1,000 freestyle, Ayalon turned in a winning time of 9:32.30, as he led a Jacket sweep of the top two places, with junior Hank Longmire (Longview, Texas) in second with his time of 9:38.32. In the 500 free, Ayalon won with a time of 4:33.61, as he defeated WKU’s Dean Cheek (4:41.30) in the race.
The Jackets’ other two-event winner of the day was sophomore Jorge Oliver (Jacksonville, Fla.) who won both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke. In the 100-yard event, Oliver finished with a time of 52.82, winning by just under three seconds, and he won the 200 back with a time of 1:53.46, as he led a Tech sweep of the top three spots. Oliver was followed in the 200 back by James Salazar (Huntsville, Ala.) in second with a time of 1:54.85 and sophomore Scott Lenyk (Suwanee, Ga.) who was third with his time of 1:55.09.
Junior Carl Nylander (Tucker, Ga.) led a Yellow Jacket sweep of the top four spots in the 200-yard freestyle with his time of 1:44.30. He was followed in the event by Leo Salinas (Monterrey, Mexico) in second with a time of 1:44.84, Hersko in third with a 1:44.96, and David Silver (Dallas, Texas) in fourth with a time of 1:45.04. Silver’s time was an exhibition swim and did not count toward the team score.
Tech’s other event winners included Tsuji, who won the 100-yard breaststroke with his season-best time of 56.78 seconds. Robbie Foster (Frankfort, Ky.), who placed second with his season-best time of 57.28, followed Tsuji in the event. Junior Brady Skaggs (Jacksonville, Fla.) led a group of four Jackets in the 200 butterfly, as he won with a Tech season-best time of 1:51.25. Fellow junior Laitala was Tech’s final event winner, as he captured the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:54.06.
In the diving competition, Tech freshman Paul McCarty (Ypsilanti, Mich.) placed second in both the one and three-meter events with his scores of 224.55 in the one-meter and 241.13 off the three-meter board.
Tech will take the next two weeks off in preparation for the ACC Championship meet, which will be held at the University of Virginia’s Aquatics and Fitness Center in Charlottesville, Va., from Feb. 21-24. The Jackets will be looking to improve on 2000’s school-best sixth-place finish at the conference meet.