CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The Babson College swimming and diving teams kicked off their NEWMAC Championship weekend with a solid opening day at MIT on Friday. The men stood in fifth place after day one, while the women were ninth. In addition, each squad set a pair of new program records.
On the men's side of the competition, first-year sensation An Truong had just one hiccup in an otherwise brilliant NEWMAC Championship debut. After teaming with junior Isaac Breen-Franklin, junior Steven Jacobi, and senior Michael Flaherty on the Beavers' fourth-place 200 free relay team, Truong stumbled in his first individual race of the weekend, placing ninth in the prelims to miss qualifying for the A-Final. However, the star rookie rebounded with a sensational performance in the B-Final, setting a new Babson-record with a time of 4:36.88. Despite the fact that he was forced to settle for ninth place, Truong's time was the third fastest at the competition, and it met the B-cut standard for NCAA Championship qualification.
Also in the 500 free, Breen-Franklin had an outstanding day, breaking his own school mark with a time of 4:40.36 in the prelims. He then placed sixth in the finals with a time of 4:40.08 - a pace that would have rebroken his own program record were it not for Truong's magnificent effort just moments earlier.
Other highlights for the Babson men included a near-historic effort from Jacobi in the 200 IM, as his sixth-place time of 1:56.31 fell just 0.18 seconds shy of matching Athletics Hall of Famer Michael Hobbs' 22-year-old record of 1:56.13. Jacobi also joined Truong, Flaherty, and first-year Chris Roan on the Beavers' 400 medley relay team, which placed fifth with a new school record of 3:31.78, while Roan scored with a 10th-place showing in the 200 IM.
The 200 free relay team of senior Bryn Powell and sophomores Erica Riccardi, Kelly McCarthy, and Ascia Johnson opened the women's half of the meet in spectacular fashion, as the quartet placed eighth and set a new Babson record with a time of 1:41.50. Sophomore Kendall Ford then added the team's second record-breaking performance of the day in the 500 free, where her mark of 5:20.58 surpassed teammate Johnson's time of 5:28.25 set last year.
Adding to her stellar opening day, Riccardi qualified for the final and placed seventh in the 50 free with a time of 24.78 seconds. She later led off for the 400 medley relay team, which came in ninth in 4:10.24. Divers Mika Cucullo and Flynn Lincoln rounded out Babson's list of scorers by placing 13th and 16th, respectively, in the 3-meter competition.