This weekend, NESCAC championships will draw all 11 men’s swimming and diving teams in the conference to Wesleyan for what is sure to be a highly competitive, three-day meet.

“In general we are prepared to see people on all these teams to drop incredible times and swim lights out,” said captain Tim Long ’17 said.

As the first meet in tapered, championship season, a number of team members are looking for big performances in individual events and hopefully NCAA qualifications. 

Karl Sarier ’19, already named a NESCAC Performer of the Week for his two individual first places in the meets against MIT and WPI in November, is the defending NESCAC champion and top seed for the 200 yard freestyle. Diver Mitchell Ryan ’19 is seeded 2nd for both the three and one meter dives, and Stephen Pastoriza ’19, Michael Netto ’18, Drew Macdonald ’20 and Daniel Williams ’19 are also poised for impressive swims and potentially qualifications this weekend after strong performances this season.

However, the team will have to perform at its full potential this weekend as the meet is sure to draw a very competitive field of athletes.

“All 11 NESCAC teams will be in one place in one weekend in peak shape and well-rested, so it will be a good apples-to-apples comparison of the swimmers,” said Head Coach Brad Burnham. “The pool is crowded with a lot of guys who want to go fast so they will definitely be some impressive performances.”

The team has a 3-3 record, which is identical to the team’s record last year going into the conference championships where they placed 6th. 

“I don’t think we are going to move up or down in the team rankings too much, swimming is a little too predictable that way,” said Burnham. “But I think the guys have trained better. They seem to be at a better place and have a much greater understanding of how they want to approach their races. I think they worked harder this year.”

Typically, the NESCAC championship meet is much faster than regular season meets. According to Burnham, the swimmers are usually about two seconds faster per 100 yards. Such an improvement is partially due to the swimmers being well-rested, but also due the to electric atmosphere of the meet. 

“Two-hundred and fifty guys on deck all screaming their heads off plus another 500 or so fans in the stands gets quite loud,” said captain Michael Given ’17. “It really does make a difference.” 

The men’s team is also riding the extra motivation of witnessing the women’s NESCAC championships, which were hosted at Bowdoin last weekend.

“We got to volunteer a little bit but also just go and be on deck for [the women’s] meet,” said Long. “It gave everyone, especially the first years who have never experienced the NESCACs before, a kind of primer for this weekend. It just got everyone pumped up.”

The Polar Bears will take to the pool at 10 a.m. today for the first preliminary session of the three-day meet.