March 25, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Seven members of the Navy men's swimming program will take part in this week's NCAA Championship meet, which is being held at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas. The three-day event begins Thursday with trial heats starting daily at noon EDT and finals beginning at 8 p.m. EDT.
Navy is sending its highest number of competitors to the championship since also receiving seven invitations to the meet in 1973. Seven Mids also took part in the 1964 championship, with a school-high eight Mids competing at the 1946, 1961 and 1965 national meets.
"Sending the number of Navy athletes that we are is representative of our team this season," said Navy men's swimming head coach Bill Roberts, who has now qualified at least one swimmer or diver for the national championship in six of his 11 years. "In the beginning of the year, we knew that though not everyone would make the championship, it became a collective goal of the team to work together and qualify as many as we could. We want to honor the efforts of our teammates and alumni this week with our efforts and performances."
Competing in a pair of individual events at the championship will be Luke Hoffer (Sr., Chapel Hill, N.C.), Sean Murphy (Sr., Hudson, Ohio) and Tom Duvall (So., Durham, N.H.).
Hoffer will be competing in both breaststroke events. The 100 breast will be contested Friday with the 200 breast event being held Saturday. He is seeded 40th in the shorter event and 11th in the longer race.
"Luke made the decision a long time ago that he would qualify to compete at this meet," said Roberts. "Each time we came up short, Luke simply became more committed to becoming an NCAA qualifier."
Murphy also will be competing in the 100 and 200 breaststroke events. He is the No. 15 seed in the 100 version of the race and is ranked 29th in the 200.
"Sean has been a force all season long in the breaststroke events," said Roberts. "Though always strong in the 100, his 200 has really improved this season. Both he and Luke have raced some excellent competition this season, which should help each of them this week in Austin."
Duvall will be the first Navy swimmer to compete in an individual event at the 2014 championship when he takes to the water Thursday for the 500 freestyle. He is seeded 14th in the field. After taking Friday off from competition, Duvall will be back in the pool Saturday for the 1650 freestyle in which he is the No. 39 seed.
"Since the end of the 2013 season," said Roberts, "Tom has made a lot of improvement to become a national qualifier. He is part of an excellent training group at Navy that has pushed each other consistently so that each person was able to achieve new levels of individual competitiveness."
Navy also will be competing in a pair of relay events at the championship as it is entered into the 400 medley and 800 freestyle events. Brendan Walsh (Jr., Annapolis, Md.), Murphy, Jonathan DeBaugh (So., Conroe, Texas) and Dain Bomberger (Jr., Lititz, Pa.) comprise Navy's 400 medley relay team, which will compete on Thursday, while Riley Mita (Jr., Stevenson Ranch, Calif.), Bomberger, Debaugh and Duvall will compete in Saturday's 800 free relay.
The Mids are seeded 25th in the 400 medley relay and 26th in the 800 free relay. The 400 medley relay advanced to the national championship by posting an automatic qualifying time. That `A' time also allowed the Mids to compete in the 800 free relay.
"I am so impressed with the collective drive of this relay," said Roberts, of the 400 medley relay team. "The story of this relay is about making a decision to get to the NCAAs and then going after it. Though we all were extremely happy with our time posted during the Patriot League Championship, they were able to move past the emotion of a great swim very quickly to not only go after the `A' cut at the ECAC Championship, but also attain it."
Links to live results from the championship will be available at NavySports.com. Information on an online video stream of the meet is still pending.