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Marco Conati won two relays and the 50 free (photo by Tessa Guerra)
Marco Conati won two relays and the 50 free (photo by Tessa Guerra)

CMS Men's Swim and Dive Opens up 26-Point Lead over Pomona-Pitzer After First Day

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Marco Conati swam a personal best 20.40 to win the 50 free, led off a winning 200 free relay with a 20.46, and anchored the 400 medley relay team to the second-fastest time in program history to lead the CMS men's swimming and diving team to a 68-42 lead after five events in its two-day meet with Pomona-Pitzer on Friday.

Anderson Breazeale and Lucas Lang won a close 1-2 race in the 500 free as well for the Stags, which will take a decent lead into day two tomorrow, when the 100 and 200 yard races will be held in all four strokes, as well as the 1650, the 400 IM, and two more relays. 

The swimming portion of the day began with an impressive showing from the 400 medley relay team, which had a time of 3:17.68. Nick Tekieli swam a 49.18 in the backstroke to start things off, Walter Limm had a 54.89 in the breaststroke leg, Frank Applebaum had a 48.88 in the butterfly and Conati finished it off with a 44.73 freestyle leg. 

The 3:17.68 is the second-fastest time ever for a CMS medley relay team, behind only the 2015 quartet of Matt Williams, Zach Alleva, Patrick Shultz and Alex Poltash, which swam a 3:16.74 at the NCAA Championships.

The first individual race turned into a Stag vs. Stag battle in the 500-yard freestyle, as Anderson Breazeale and Lucas Lang separated themselves from the pack. First place wasn't decided until the final few strokes, as Breazeale won by less than a second, taking first in 4:31.10, with Lang in second in 4:31.83. Breazeale's time is good for third in CMS history, while Lang now places fifth (with teammates Joe Zales in between). 

Grant Stucky nearly earned a comeback win in the 200 IM, but was held off by just .16 for first place by Isaac Pan of Pomona-Pitzer, who won 1:52.64 to 1:52.80. Conati then took the 50 free in 20.40, moving up to third in CMS history behind only Poltash (20.21) and Andrew Cox (20.22). Theo Johnson added a third-place finish in 21.31, edging out Lukas Menkhoff by .02 and Evan Aballea by .08, adding a few more key points to the Stag total. 

CMS capped the day with a strong performance in the 200 free relay, winning by almost a full second in 1:22.30, which places sixth in program history. Conati swam the first leg in 20.46 to nearly match his performance in the individual race, while Dylan Krueger (20.85), Johnson (20.63) and Tekieli (20.36) all had splits under 21 seconds as well. 

Cyrus Gaylord had a close second place finish in the 3-meter diving event with a 328.85, finishing behind Ben Willett with a 344.50. Jack Griffith was third with a 273.00. 

CMS came into the two-day meet ranked No. 12 in the country, behind No. 9 Pomona-Pitzer, and can assure itself of an uphill move by holding on to the lead with a strong finish tomorrow.