Feb. 6, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Success in the second half of the meet was just enough for the Navy men's swimming team to rally for a 130.5-129.5 victory over Johns Hopkins Wednesday evening in Lejeune Hall in Annapolis.
Navy (6-6) had a rough start to the meet as each of its four teams was disqualified in the opening 200 medley relay race.
"We started swimming in 10 lanes this year instead of in eight," said Navy men's swimming head coach Bill Roberts. "So the schematics are a little different. The lanes are labeled for eight lanes instead of 10, so all of our guys went to the lanes based upon their label."
Swimming up in the wrong lane results in an automatic disqualification, and it resulted in Johns Hopkins (8-1) taking an immediate 15-0 lead.
Navy climbed back into the meet in the 800 free when Alex Nickell (Fr., Loveland, Colo.) led a 1-3-4 finish by the Mids with his winning time of 8:28.48. Tom Duvall (Fr., Durham, N.H.) then won the 200 free by one-tenth of a second with his clocking of 1:53.98.
Johns Hopkins would win the next five races, the 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 200 fly, 50 free and 100 free, but Navy scored three swimmers in each of the races to limit some of the damage.
Navy won the ninth race, the 200 back, when Conor Campbell (Jr., Manassas, Va.) posted a time of 2:04.58 to win by less than one-quarter of a second. The Mids then claimed the top-three placings in the next two events. Luke Hoffer (Jr., Chapel Hill, N.C.) first won the 200 breaststroke in a time of 2:17.27, then Duvall followed with a 4:05.40 to win the 400 freestyle.
Johns Hopkins closed the individual event portion of the meet by posting victories in the 100 fly and 200 individual medley races, with Navy swimmers placing second, third and fourth in both events.
The Blue Jays would then edge the Mids by six-hundredths of a second for the victory in the 200 freestyle relay. The final points were then determined by Navy's `B' relay team placing third to earn a pair of points that pushed the Mids past the Blue Jays on the team scoreboard.
Johns Hopkins does not field a diving team, so Navy did not compete in either of the diving events that normally take place during a meet.
"We knew Johns Hopkins is a very good team," said Roberts of the Blue Jays, who placed sixth at the 2012 NCAA Division III Championship. "We made the decision to mix up some events, and Hopkins was `on;' they were better than we were. That's why they were winning and that's why they pushed it all the way to the very end. Certainly Johns Hopkins had a better meet today than we did. We weren't surprised it turned out to be a close meet. The fact that it was a one-point meet, we feel very lucky.
"Depth was huge, especially the second half of the meet. I think the depth of Hopkins was better through to the end of the first break, then our guys got it going in the breaststroke and 400 free."
Navy will now set its sights on the Feb. 21-23 Patriot League Championship.