Showcasing how far they have come in just the second season since the program was restarted, the men's and women's swimming and diving teams put in a number of top performances at the UAA Invitational this weekend. In the meet, which was held in Rochester, N.Y., the Judges had five top-five finishers, more than twice as many as they had at the same meet last season.
Leading the way for Brandeis was junior Max Fabian (Keene, N.H./Oak Meadow), who won the 1650-yard freestyle in 16:45.58. The school record holder in the event finished nearly four seconds ahead of the second-place swimmer. It was the second year in a row that Fabian won the mile at the fall UAA meet.
Fabian was eighth in the 400 IM with a time of 4:32.95.
Rookie Edan Zitelny (Syosset, N.Y./Syosset) finished in third place in the 200-yard butterfly in 2:03.46. It was Zitelny's first time swimming the event at the college level, and the rookie finished less than a second out of second place.
Zitelny had two other top-10 finishes, grabbing seventh in the 100 fly with a time of 55.06 and ninth in the 200 IM in 2:05.14.
The star of the show for the Judges might have been sophomore Brian Luk (Hong Kong/Northfield Mount Hermon), who finished in the top five in three events. In the 50-yard freestyle, Luk finished fourth with a time of 22.02 seconds. It was less than a quarter of a second off of his personal record, and more than 3/4ths of a second better than his time at this point last season.
It was much of the same in the 100-yard freestyle, as Luk grabbed fourth with a time of 48.18 seconds. At the UAA fall meet last season, Luk finished eighth with a time of 49.69 seconds. The sophomore also claimed a fifth-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly, timing in at 54.64 seconds, about 1.5 seconds better than where he was at this point last season.
Luk placed ninth in the 200 free with a time of 1:50.45, just 0.17 seconds off of his personal best.
"Brian blew me away a bit," coach Mike Kotch said. "Across the weekend, he was a very consistent performer. His sprint freestyles were much faster than they were last season.
The men had multiple relay teams finish in the top 10 as well. The 200 freestyle squad of Luk, rookie Zach Silver (West Hartford, Conn./West Hartford), rookie Allan Chuang (Charlottesville, Va./Charlottesville) and senior Joe Jacobowitz (Syosset, N.Y./Syosset) finished in eighth in 1:37.70. The 400-yard medley team consisting of Zitelny, sophomore David Lazarovich (Stowe, Vt./South Burlington), rookie Eb Weber (Murray, Ky./Murray) and Luk finished 10th with a time of 3:49.94.
On the women's side, rookie Joanna Murphy (Sarasota, Fla./Riverview) had an excellent UAA debut. Murphy finished sixth in the 1650 with a time of 18:32.43. She also grabbed seventh in the 500-yard freestyle and eighth in the 200 freestyle with times of 5:26.67 and 2:03.37, respectively. The rookie just missed a top-10 finish in the 200 butterfly, finishing 11th with a time of 2:27.56.
Theresa Gaffney finished 10th in the 1650 with a time of 20:48.84.
In just their second season back in the pool, and swimming in one of the best conferences in the country, the men's and women's swimming and diving teams won't be crowned UAA champions this season. But Kotch was impressed with the strides the squads have made.
"Our back end splits were strong, which is always a good sign," he said. "But there are no medals given out in October. We just have to keep our heads down and stay focused."
Both squads are back in action on November 9 at WPI, where they will take on both the Engineers and the Babson Beavers.