March 1, 2009

Eder qualifies for NCAAs, six school records fall, as Brandeis men's swimming finishes 16th at ECACs

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. --The Brandeis University men's swimming and diving team set six school records and established their first NCAA Division III 'B' qualifying mark of the season today as the Judges finished in 16th place out of 23 teams at the ECAC All-Division Championships held at Harvard.

On Day One of the meet, senior Robert Morse (Hope, R.I./Bishop Hendricken) broke a school record set minutes earlier by sophomore teammate Aaron Bennett (Setauket, N.Y./Ward Melville) in the 500-yard freestyle. Though they did not qualify for the scoring heats, Bennett and Morse had the top individual performances for the Judges in the 500 free. Bennett broke Hal Grossman's '05 record first by nearly three-quarters of a second with a time of 4:47.36 in his heat, only to see Morse lower the mark again by an additional 1.36 seconds with a time of 4:46.00. That was the 23rd best time in qualifying, missing the scoring heats by about four seconds.

The Judges' Day One scoring came in a pair of relays that came in 14th place. The 200-yard freestyle relay team of junior James Liu (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow), junior Justin Wellins (Canyon County, Calif./Canyon), senior Michael Rubin (Bangor, Maine/Bangor) and Morse finished with a time of 1:28.21. Wellins, rookie Marc Eder (Princeton, N.J./Lawrenceville), Bennett and Morse completed the 400 medley relay with a time of 3:35.82.

On Day Two of action, the Judges improved two spots in the standings, moving into 15th overall and second among Division III schools. The big scoring event for the Judges was the 800-yard freestyle relay, where the team of Liu, Bennett, Rubin and Morse set the second school record of the meet with a time of 6:59.04. The performance was more than 12 seconds better than their season's best and seven seconds faster than the old record, established in 2004. 

Rookie Marc Eder had the top individual performance of the day, placing 12th in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 4:10.61 in the finals. He also just missed having a shot at scoring in the 100 breaststroke, as his time of 58.79 seconds was .11 seconds out of making the top 16.

Day Three was one of the most successful for the Judges, including four school records and their NCAA performance.

Rookie Marc Eder had the top performance of the meet for either Brandeis squad in the 200-yard breaststroke. His preliminary time of 2:04.79 was among the top 20 in the nation among NCAA Division III ‘B' qualifiers, putting him right on the edge of being selected for the championships. He also shaved nearly three seconds of the Judges' school record, previously owned by Matt Christian '05 in his senior season. Eder placed sixth in the finals with a time of 2:05.76 for Brandeis's highest finish of the meet.

The Judges two other individual school records in non-scoring performances. Senior Bobby Morse placed 17th in the 1,650-yard freestyle, swimming the mile in 16:44.07 to erase Hal Grossman's '04 record by 1.10 seconds. Sophomore Aaron Bennett took down Marshall Goldman's '03 mark in the prelims of the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:55.37. Bennett finished in 30th place and shaved 0.25 seconds off the old mark.

The final record of the meet for the Brandeis men came in the 400 freestyle relay, as Liu, Wellins, Rubin and Morse placed 12th overall in the finals, as their time of 3:09.42 took more than half a second off a record set in 2005.