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Athlete of the week: Ben Hsiung ʼ18

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The Swarthmore men’s swim team wrapped up their dual meet conference season on Saturday with a 121-83 win against Dickinson College. The Garnet finished 6-0 against Centennial Conference opponents, and won their first regular season conference title since 2007. Crucial in the victory was Ben Hsiung ʼ18. The senior leader from Pittsburgh, Pa. won the 200 freestyle in a close finish, out-touching his opponent by 0.14 seconds. The Garnet host their final home meet this Saturday at Ware Pool and then will race into the Centennial Conference Championships the following weekend at Franklin and Marshall College.

Jack Corkery: What is your major, and what made you decide to pursue it?

Ben Hsiung: I’m a chemistry major.  I initially only took chem classes for pre-med requirements, but liked Orgo 1 and loved Orgo 2 because of Professor Paley. I really enjoy how complicated molecules can be produced through a series of logical, and at times elegant, steps.  

JC: What made you decide to attend Swat?

BH: I decided to attend Swarthmore because I knew I could pursue my academic ambitions fully while being a swimmer as well. During my recruiting visit, the close bonds between the swimmers on the team made a deep impression on me, and I was impressed by the support they provided for one another.

JC: What is your favorite event, and why?

BH: My favorite event is the 50 free. I’m not particularly good at it and until this year was never allowed to swim it because there are other events I’m better at, which may be why I like it so much. The 50 is my favorite because it is short and relatively painless. I normally swim 100s and 200s after which I feel nauseous, but the 50 is great because you feel fine after.

JC: How was the winter break training trip?

BH: The training trip was a lot of fun. It was great getting to spend time with teammates just training and not having to worry about school. It was a great opportunity to bond with the team, especially the freshmen I don’t know as well. It was very beneficial in terms of training, since we all put a lot of work in, and the team definitely got stronger and faster from it.

JC: What are your personal and team goals for the remainder of the season?

BH: The team goal is the same it is every year, to beat Gettysburg and win conferences. On a personal level, I hope to go best times in the 100 and 200 back, since I haven’t gone best times in those events since freshman year.


Athlete of the week: Charles Yang ʼ19

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Charles Yang, a junior standout hailing from Naperville, Illi. has started off the 2017-18 Men’s Swim season hot. Yang primarily focuses on the 100-yard freestyle, 50-yard freestyle, the 100-yard backstroke, and the 50-yard backstroke for his events. In a recent Dec. 2 meet against Ursinus College, Yang finished first overall in the 50-yard freestyle, with an impressive time of 21.86 seconds, just 0.13 seconds off of his personal best in that event. The men’s team is currently 4-0 and seems to be on track to try and repeat as Centennial Conference champions. The team is back in action at West Chester University on Dec. 8.

Ping Promrat: What is your intended major, and what motivated you to pursue it?

Charles Yang: I am a math major and a psychology minor. It is kind of nerdy, but I’m really interested in math. I think it’s extremely applicable to a lot of different professional fields, which is nice for someone like me, who is not completely sure what he wants to do. I’ll be done with my math major after this semester, which is really nice.

PP: What got you into swimming as a kid? What inspired you to pursue swimming at Swarthmore?

CY: My parents forced me to do swimming. I hated it, and it sucked when I started. To be honest, it really is a grind all the time. I was really lucky to be recruited by a school like Swarthmore, and although it might be hard, I absolutely love my team, so I’m glad I stuck with it.

PP: What is your favorite and least favorite part about being a student athlete?

CY: Being a student-athlete at Swarthmore is really about balancing the time you spend on your respective sport with the time you spend on the academics here. While it’s tough, and I’m always really tired, I hope that participating in a sport at the collegiate level will pay off in terms of life experiences.

PP: What are your personal goals and goals for the team for this year?

CY: Personally, I hope to make nationals in my events. As a team, I hope we get two relays to nationals. This would mean we would send at least eight people to nationals, which would be fantastic. We are currently ranked in the top 20 in the nation. We just made it into the top 16 for relays, so it is very possible.

PP: What is your favorite swim team tradition?

CY: We do a cheer before every single meet, regardless if it is a home meet or an away meet. When we are at home, it goes something like this: “Whose house is it? This is our house. We must protect this house.”

PP: If you could change one thing about Swarthmore, what would it be and why?

CY: I don’t know who I am to say what things should or shouldn’t be changed about Swarthmore, but something I think that really bothers me is the disconnect between the student-athlete and non-athlete population. I wish there were more respect for the athletic community, and the time and commitment that I know that I put into my sport.

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