Tigers fare well against Div. I, Div. II opponents

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At West Lafeyette, Ind., on Saturday, DePauw’s men’s swimming team proved that being a Div. III team makes no difference in the competition, as they held their own against one Div. II team and two Div. I teams.
The highlight came when the sprint relay team of freshman Blake Lehmann, sophomore Alex Alfonso, sophomore Matt Bacinich and junior Jack Burgeson finished first over Purdue University and University of Indianapolis.
DePauw started off the season defeating Centre College (221-67) and Washington and Lee University (171-109) two weekends ago in Louisville. The Tigers then finished third (250.5) out of seven in the Indiana Intercollegiate meet falling to Purdue (786.5) and University of Indianapolis (288.5) but coming out on top over IUPUI (218.5), Wabash (132), Rose-Hulman Institute (122) and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (60) last weekend.
Coming into the 2012 season after a 19th-place finish in the NCAC Div. III Championship, head coach Adam Cohen knew with the absence of five graduated senior swimmers, there would be big shoes to fill. The Tigers started practicing in mid-September.
“I think we had a great year last year, but we left the national meet feeling like we had more to accomplish,” Cohen said. “On that note, in the off-season, we dedicated ourselves to recruiting and getting mentally and physically prepared for this year.”
DePauw swept the boards in seven individual events at their first meet in Louisville taking first place in the 1000-yard freestyle, 200 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and the 200 IM. Junior Matt Gleason racked up the points with three wins and freshman Alex Grissom with two wins. The swim team practiced for five hours per day over fall break, and it is clear that leaders are emerging.
“After the first meet, the most satisfying thing to see was some of our returning swimmers step up into some roles,” Cohen said. “Jack Burgeson has worked hard and taken the lead role in the sprinting spot left open by former senior John Montgomery.”
DePauw traveled to Purdue for the Indiana Intercollegiates and faced more challenging competition than the team had previously. Sophomore Casey Hooker finished third in the 200 free. In addition to the first-place relay finish in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:25.00, DePauw also faired well in the 100 butterfly and the 50, 100 and 500 free.
“Last weekend was the first time we ever swam against Purdue, and it was really exciting to see our last relay team beat them,” junior Mike Curts said. “For a Div. III school to attack a Div. I school like that really pumped up our team’s mental game.”
Newcomer Blake Lehmann earned the honor of Counsilman Hunsaker National Swimmer of the Week from CollegeSwimming.com. During the Indiana Intercollegiates, Lehmann contributed in bringing home a first, fifth and two fourth-place finishes for the Tigers.
DePauw will be hosting Washington University in St. Louis at the Erdmann Natatorium on Saturday at 1 p.m.
“This will be the first meet where every single guy will be tested,” Curtis said.