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What the Arts Means at Swarthmore

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As the year comes to an end, most of us are left to reflect on the time we have spent at Swarthmore College and what we have been able to do so far. One of the most amazing things has been the rise of the arts and activism through art on campus. Groups and individuals have been empowered this year to use their creativity to give themselves voice and agency.

The Visibility Magazine published its third issue this year with the most submissions it has ever had. It was filled with poetry, photography, and art meant to empower traditionally marginalized voices.

This was accompanied by the Rise Up Now: Zine Festival, a three day event put on by Intercultural Center interns and sponsored by Swarthmore Indigenous Students Association, Kitao, Latinx Heritage Month and the Intercultural Center . On Friday, April 27, Visibility Magazine was released in collaboration with a Day of Silence Rally. Day of Silence is dedicated to raising awareness of the bullying of LGBTQ+ youth. The following days consisted of a pop-up shop for artists to sell their work, a zine-making and earring making workshop, and a gallery reception at Kitao Gallery.

Zines have been part of a long legacy of activism both in our nation’s history and on Swarthmore’s campus. Zines were traditionally self-published works to empower the voices of people of color. That history was shared and emphasized during this year’s Zine Fest where people were encouraged to share their stories by making their own zine.

Alongside giving students more agency in their time at Swarthmore, art has had a persistent role in campus activism from the Spring of Our Discontent to today. From S.J.P.’s wall to represent Israeli apartheid to the poetry people shared at Revolution Festival last semester, students have worked to enact positive change on campus.

Just as important, art has played a role in developing the personalities and traits of many students on campus.

AV Lee-A-Yong ̕ 21, a prospective peace and conflicts  studies major, is one person who has been greatly impacted by the arts at Swarthmore.

Lee-A-Yong had been active in theater zir whole life but wasn’t formally trained until coming to Swarthmore this fall. For Lee-A-Yong, theater has become an important part of zir identity.

“Theatre has always been a way to express myself through someone else,” Lee-A-Yong said. “And it’s nice to be at Swarthmore and see those someone-elses share things in common with you.”

Along with playing an important role in identity, the arts at Swarthmore also provide a family to many people.

“Being a first-year originally came with its own set of nerves, but I think that I came in at such an opportune time — when there was a role I could audition for that, was perfect for me,” Lee-A-Yong explained. “I do think, however, that at Swarthmore, theatre is a family, and being adopted into it in my first year gave me a sense of belonging I don’t know if I would’ve found anywhere else. I definitely feel more secure in myself and my presence at Swat because of theatre here.”

As the year comes to a close, and we are left most recently with the S.J.P.’s wall and Organizing for Survivors’ posters that cover the halls of Parrish, but we can’t forget the family that the arts creates for so many.

Athlete of the week: Lucy Decker ’21

in Athlete of the Week/Sports by

Lucy Decker ’21 has become a key contributor to the softball pitching staff in her first year at Swarthmore. The right-handed pitcher from Walnut Creek, Ca., has six wins on the year, a team high for the pitchers. Most notably, Decker threw a complete game shutout against Washington College this past week, leading the Garnet to a 2-0 win in the second half of the doubleheader. The Garnet concluded their season on Tuesday with losses against Haverford to miss out on the Centennial Conference playoffs, but finished with the highest number of wins in a season for the team since 2013.

Ping Promrat: What is your intended major? Why are you interested in it?

Lucy Decker: My intended major is Physics. This field contributes so much to our knowledge of the way the world works, and I find that the more that I learn the more questions that I have. That’s why I like physics so much; there is just so much to be discovered, which is really exciting.

PP: What got you into softball as a kid? How did you find out about Swarthmore in the recruiting process?

LD: I started playing softball as a natural next step after tee-ball when I was seven or eight. I played a lot of different sports as I was growing up, but softball was the one that I liked the most and the one that ultimately stuck for the long run. I’m from California, and I played on a travel-ball softball team through high school that was pretty intense with recruiting, and I had several teammates come play at elite liberal arts schools like Swarthmore. So I kind of got the idea of going to a school like Swat from them, and I followed their lead and eventually ended up here! The recruiting process was a little difficult, being from so far away, but after I came on my recruit visit, I knew that I wanted to come here.

PP: What’s been the hardest adjustment for you this year?

LD: I think that the hardest adjustment for me this year has been to learn to manage my time and my priorities. Especially in season, I don’t have a lot of free time, so it has been really important to figure out a way to get all of my work done as well and efficiently as possible while also finding time to enjoy myself. It has been a difficult balance to find, but with the year winding down, I think that I’ve figured out what works best for me.  

PP: Where is your favorite spot on campus and why?

LD: My favorite spot on campus is probably the Wharton Courtyard. We don’t get snow where I live in California, so I remember looking out of my window into the courtyard the first time that it snowed this year and being completely mesmerized. I think that it’s one of the most beautiful places on campus no matter the season, but especially in the winter.

PP: How did it feel to pitch a shutout? What goals do you have for the rest of the year individually and for the team?

LD: It was really exciting to pitch a shutout, especially against Washington College. It was a game that we really needed to win to keeps our hopes alive in making the Conference playoffs. I was really happy that I was able to give my team the best chance to win the game, which is all that you can hope for when you step into the circle. In terms of the rest of the season, we are looking to keep winning and make it to the Conference tournament. This has been a really pivotal season for us, and we hope that we can continue to build Swat softball into a winning program. I just hope to contribute as much as I can to help the team win.

1/5 of varsity athletes sign letter in support of O4S

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On March 26, Voices published Swarthmore Athletes’ Statement of Solidarity with Organizing for Survivors (O4S). 112 out of 550 student athletes signed the statement from a variety of different varsity teams on campus, which came out to about ⅕ of varsity student-athletes choosing to put their name on the letter in support. The statement declared student athletes’ support for sexual assault survivors and allies, specifically highlighting O4S’s demands to terminate the frat leases to Phi Psi and Delta Upsilon and democratize the spaces by the start of the 2018-19 school year. The statement addressed the association of athletics with the frats, but maintained that the athletic community still fully supports O4S and all of its demands. This choice to specifically support ending the fraternity leases with Phi Psi and Delta Upsilon has caused discussion among the athletic community, as many members of the varsity sports teams here are either members, or associates of the fraternities. While the statement of solidarity makes a statement on behalf of all members of the athletic community, only ⅕ of Swarthmore varsity athletes chose to sign the statement.

The Swarthmore athletes’ statement of solidarity reads, “this is a statement on behalf of Swarthmore Student Athletes to declare our support for sexual assault survivors and allies as they strive to implement crucial changes in Title IX policies. The athletic community makes up a large portion of the population of Swarthmore College, 36% of the 1,581 students at Swarthmore to be precise. We have survivors among us, and it is time for us to stand up for our teammates, friends, and community. We stand with O4S as they hold Swarthmore’s administration accountable for neglecting the needs and safety of survivors, and pressure the administration to take reformative actions to minimize the possibility of future sexual violence.”

The letter states that the athletic community fully supports all the demands of the O4S, and acknowledges that while the athletic community has strong ties with the fraternities, the athletic community still supports O4S’ demands for Swarthmore College to relinquish its leases with the fraternities.

The statement ends emphatically, calling for athletes to stand up and support survivors.

“We urge all members of Swarthmore’s Athletic community to reflect upon where they stand in terms of support for O4S, and to ask themselves what systems of injustice they are perpetuating through their silence,” the statement reads.

The Swarthmore athletes’ statement of solidarity was written and distributed to varsity teams by Sarah Girard ’19 of volleyball and track and field, Alex Frost ’20 of women’s soccer, Lilly Price ’20 of cross country and track, and Irina Bukharin ’18 of cross country and track. The Phoenix reached out to all four of these student-athletes, but none of them returned requests for comment. One of the four creators said that she did not feel comfortable answering any of the questions without consulting the other three members who helped draft the statement.

Taylor Chiang ’18, a captain of the women’s lacrosse team, expressed solidarity with the movement and illuminated her reasons for signing the letter.

“I signed the student athletes’ letter in solidarity for O4S because personally, I’m in support with all the demands O4S listed. I think bringing awareness and public support for these issues is important. Athletes are a large portion of the student body that frequently take part in the party scene on campus, and I think by signing this letter we can show other students and administration that we are in solidarity and put more pressure for policy changes,” Chiang said.

Members of Swarthmore women’s basketball and softball team who did not sign the statements also gave insight on to their reasoning behind this decision. All four members of these teams who answered chose to remain anonymous, for fear of backlash from the student body. One anonymous female athlete responded, when asked why she did not sign the statement with “I agree with 95% of what was written, but can’t sign something that is going to the administration unless I agree with 100% of it.”

She did not elaborate on what parts she dissented to, but implied that the end to the leases of the fraternity house played a major role in her decision. Most of the female athletes who gave insight on why they did not sign it had similar reasoning; they did not feel comfortable putting their name on something with which they were not fully on board. Another female athlete did not sign it because she frequently goes to the fraternities for social events and felt that signing this statement would make her a hypocrite.

After O4S’s first couple organizing meetings, almost every affinity group, and many student organizations came out with letters expressing solidarity with the movement. Notable letters included those from the Residential Assistants, DPAs, and affinity groups like SASS (Swarthmore African American Student Society), or SAO (Swarthmore Asian Organization). O4S has also received considerable support from members of faculty, as many have attended rallies, community forum meetings, and brought the ongoing campus discussion to their classes. For example Daniel Laurison, assistant professor of sociology, made one of his suggested topics for his foundation of sociology class campus sexual assault, Title IX, and support for survivors.

Out of the 112 of athletes who signed the statement, only 25 of those were male. There was a glaring lack of male signatures. Zero members of the men’s baseball, lacrosse, and basketball teams signed the letter. Six signed from men’s soccer. This distinct lack indicates that athletics at Swarthmore could be one of the major problems O4S might face in changing Swarthmore’s culture around Title IX reform. The varsity athletics community makes up a large portion of the population of Swarthmore College, 36% of the 1,581 students at Swarthmore to be precise.

In order to garner support from the athletic community, O4S may have to reach out and spread their message on a wider scale, especially explaining their long term goals, in order to resonate with people from the athletic department. It is also important to acknowledge that varsity athletes range in levels of involvement outside of athletics. Some athletes have been very involved in the O4S movement and activism around Title IX, and some haven’t. While Swarthmore Athletes’ Statement of Solidarity shows that a significant number of athletes do fully support the O4S movement, it seems like the athletic community is divided over the letter. Some members of the athletic community claim to agree with most, but not all of what O4S is calling for, and subsequently did not sign the letter. However, the messaging on the call to democratize the fraternity spaces have become more complicated. To many, it seemed like this was one of the main focuses of the movement, particularly following the numerous signs that appeared in Sharples, Parrish, and Kohlberg in the past couple weeks, calling for the end of fraternity housing. After going to Community Forum IV on Wednesday April 4, I learned that shutting down Greek Life is not a goal for O4S. While the movement still wants Swarthmore to eventually end the lease on fraternity housing, this is not high on their list of things they want to change in the present. The group is committed to transformative justice, and reimagining how the Title IX system works at Swarthmore all together. They also commented on how cutting the leases with the fraternities would not prevent groups from using that space for parties, including the fraternities if they reserve that space. This would turn these two houses into spaces like Paces and Olde Club. Instead of shutting down Greek life, they want to focus on a shift in school culture that prioritize the needs of survivors.  The athletic community might be more willing to support O4S, and less divided amongst itself, if they actually research the O4S demands, particularly how they’ve evolved over the last week or so. In the midst of these ongoing discussions, the athletic department have heard the complaints and issued a mandatory Sexual Violence Team Training for each team in the athletic department in the coming weeks. While this is certainly not a final solution, it is a first step towards creating a more supportive athletic community.

Practicing kreng-jai at Swarthmore

in Op-Eds/Opinions by

Although I have studied in the United States for almost two years, there is one Thai word for which I cannot find a counterpart in English: kreng-jai.

To kreng-jai is to be considerate of how other people feel and act considerately so that one does not engender any ill feeling in others. Similar to externality in economics, kreng-jai is grounded in the idea that every person’s action also affects people around them, whether one is cognizant of this fact or not. Therefore, everyone should bear this fact in mind and treat others with utmost respect.

My most recent experience of kreng-jai happened during the spring break when I visited my best friend from Thailand in Minnesota. As my break started earlier than his, he invited me to stay in his dorm until he had finished his final exams. We planned to travel around the Midwest together afterwards. Noticing I was anxious that my presence would disrupt his daily routine, he told me on the first day I arrived to make myself at home. Nevertheless, regardless of how close I was to him, I tried to be mindful of my actions. In this scenario, because I kreng-jai and treated him with respect, no major feud between him and me happened.

The concept of kreng-jai can be applied to more than just friends as well. It could serve as a framework for any group of people, be it between an employer and an employee, a professor and a student, or even two strangers. During my high school years, I had a classmate who never skipped his math class despite understanding every mathematical concept his teacher planned to cover. Let’s call him A.J. He was concerned the teacher might interpret his absence as an indicator that her lesson was not sufficiently engaging. To maximize what he gained from the class, A.J. explained his situation to my math teacher and eventually became a peer mentor, which is similar to a teaching assistant at  Swarthmore. More kreng-jai equates to less egocentrism. By being conscious of the consequence of one’s actions, people who practice kreng-jai can enjoy more meaningful relationships.

At this point, some may wonder whether kreng-jai has any real-life applications in a fast-paced society like ours. Others may doubt if kreng-jai works on any larger scale beyond the interactions between groups of people. The answer to both questions is yes. Take Thailand as an example. In the past, Thailand was suffering from the shortage of doctors, especially in rural areas. Since the Baby Boomer generation, an increase in the Thai population has significantly outpaced the rate at which doctors graduate from medical schools. To exacerbate the issue, the country has been afflicted with severe income inequality: as years pass, urban areas are becoming wealthier whereas rural areas are gradually impoverished. As a result, Thai doctors prefer to work in urban areas.

How does kreng-jai play a role in alleviating this problem? It was incorporated in one of the Ministry of Health’s campaign to promote health awareness. The message is simple: before visiting a doctor, every person should take care of their health by eating healthy food, sleeping sufficiently, and exercising regularly. Moreover, before every visit to any hospital, patients should mindfully consider whether their condition truly prompts them to visit doctors. For instance, if a patient catches a cold, they should try resting first. Should the symptoms remain, they can visit doctors afterwards. Thanks to the campaign, the doctor shortage is less severe as people whose condition is not urgent kreng-jai and believe doctors should treat the urgent cases first. Even though the reduction in the number of patients may be attributed to other factors as well, every society still benefits if its members recognize that other people have their needs as well. Kreng-jai, I would argue, is one of the unique traits pervasive among Thai people.

How about Swarthmore? How can the Swarthmore community incorporate kreng-jai into its daily practice? One example is how roommates in the same dorm treat one another. In the beginning of last semester, each dorm requested its residents to sign a roommate contract so that everyone understood how to treat their shared space, such as whether the room is a place to rest or to socialize or how to allocate the chores. The contract also serves as a reference whenever a conflict between roommates arises.

Necessary though it was, a roommate contract should not serve as the only framework for how roommates treat one another. Like laws, no contract can take every possible interaction into account. Some unexpected events that fall into grey areas will inevitably happen. For example, when I signed my roommate contract, I did not anticipate that I needed to practice pronunciation for my language class so often. Therefore, my roommate and I  made no strict rule about how much noise each person can produce. Feeling kreng-jai, I tried to practice my pronunciation only when my roommate was absent. Once people are considerate and mindful of others, the less need there is to revisit and change the contract, thus more flexibility.

Practicing kreng-jai can benefit Swarthmore at an institutional level as well.  Many Swarthmore students have hectic schedules. It is crucial that we honor other people’s time as well as our own. When I arrived in the US, I usually heard Western people value punctuality: one can earn a disapproving look merely by entering a meeting a few minutes late. Ironically, the Swat Seven — the idea that most Swarthmore meetings start a few minutes later than the scheduled time — is the first aspect of Swarthmore culture I learned. Such excuses as “I have a lot on my plate” are neither reasonable nor appropriate; other people are busy as well. Kreng-jai them and honor their time. This applies to faculty and staff as well. For example, if students are expected to submit homework on time, they should receive professors’ feedback on their homework in a timely fashion as well. As conflicts usually occur when people do not treat others respectfully, they can be resolved or mitigated if people are considerate, or more kreng-jai, of one another.

In essence, to kreng-jai is to be aware that one’s action does not only affect oneself. Applying the concept on both a daily basis and an institutional level can strengthen the bonds within a community. Steering away from egocentrism and adopting kreng-jai helps one develop more meaningful relationships.

Swarthmore men’s golf travels to (not so) sunny Florida

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When someone brings up “spring break trip to Florida,” beaches, parties, and sunny weather tend to come to mind. Well, over spring break this year, the men’s golf team did exactly that, a spring break trip to Florida, but without the beaches, parties, and even, at times, without the sun.

Departing on Sunday, March 11, the Swarthmore golf team and their two coaches flew to 59-degree Jacksonville, and then drove an hour south to the World Golf Village (WGV), a golf resort in St. Johns County, Florida. Created by the PGA Tour in 1998, the WGV boasts the World Golf Hall of Fame, along with two 18-hole championship courses: the Slammer & Squire and the King & Bear.

The Slammer & Squire was built as a collaborative effort between Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen. The two former PGA Tour stars shared a desire to build a course that rewards good shots while preserving the area’s natural beauty.

The King & Bear, on the other hand, is the only course in the world that has been co-designed by golf legends Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. It offers a mixture of two different design styles. In Florida Golf Magazine, Palmer expressed his opinion of the course.

“The holes at The King & The Bear have a variety and blend of Jack’s and my ideas that resulted in an example of golf course architecture that may not be attempted again.”

The front nine sports an open, undulating layout that honors the heritage and history of St. Augustine. The back nine is more “traditional Florida,” with 200-year-old oaks and numerous water bodies in play.

In the six days that the men’s golf team was at the WGV, they played six rounds of 18 holes, alternating between both of these courses. The trip was aimed at having the team play a lot of golf before the season picks up in the spring.

The weather in the Northeast hasn’t been so favorable, and as a result, several golf courses in the area have delayed their opening dates. Traveling to Florida was a great way to get in rounds of golf in order to prepare the team for the abrupt season start shortly after spring break.

Besides just improving their games, the trip to Florida also provided a fantastic bonding experience for the entire team. Spring break was the first time that the new first-years on the team got a chance to meet Vamsi Damerla ’19, a captain who was abroad during the first semester.

Vice-captain Daniel Altieri ’19 expressed his opinion on the trip.

“Spring break is a great time for the whole team to spend quality time together. Between practicing during the day and hanging out at night, it was great for all of us to have this trip, especially since the intense nature of the spring season doesn’t allow for much downtime.”

Vice-captain Nick DiMaio ’19 also shared a similar attitude.

“When we were off the course, we had a great time watching March Madness together. As an upperclassman, it was great to get to know the young players a little better and build team chemistry.”

Towards the end of the trip, the team bonded at TopGolf, a golf range with a sports-bar vibe, which included food, drinks, and TV. It gives people the opportunity to have casual competitions, as several large, user-friendly target areas out on the range are able to register the microchipped balls hit by players.

On Friday, the team played a final round at the Slammer & Squire and headed back to the Jacksonville airport to fly back to Swarthmore. The trip to Florida was successful in improving the players’ games, bringing the team together, and preparing them for the upcoming season.

The first tournament of the spring will be held this weekend. Half of the team will travel to Hershey, Pa., to compete in the Hershey Cup, while the other half will be heading to Williamstown, N.J., to play at Arcadia Invitational.

The team seem to be in great shape for these tournaments and those to follow. Altieri gave his thoughts on the 2018 season.

“I believe that this team is something special. Last year, coming in second in the conference tournament showed us that we can compete with the other guys out there. Our solid play in the fall makes me excited for how we can play this spring, and come the end of April, the rest of the conference will see what we can do.”

DiMaio highlighted the talent he sees in the Juniors and first-years on the team.

“We are expecting big things for this season. With a solid core of junior players and the addition of some key freshmen, we have our eyes set on making NCAAs this year.”

All in all, the men’s golf team is optimistic for the coming season. Fresh off of six rounds of golf in Florida, the team feel prepared to bring out their best and bring the conference championship to Swarthmore.

Garnet fall in first ever trip to the Elite Eight

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For the second consecutive season, Garnet men’s basketball qualified for the NCAA tournament and made the most of it this year with a deep run to the Elite Eight, the national quarterfinals. After convincing road wins over New England College and Wesleyan University while on the road at Wesleyan, the Garnet triumphantly returned to Tarble Pavilion to, somewhat surprisingly, host the third and fourth rounds of the tournament. This marked the first time the Garnet had ever made a Sweet 16 (third round) appearance, after being eliminated by Christopher Newport during the second round of last year’s tournament, their first ever appearance under head coach Landry Kosmalski. Kosmalski, a member of the Davidson College Class of 2000, was one of the best-big-men in program history and served as an assistant coach while current NBA star Stephen Curry played at Davidson. Heading into the Sweet 16 game, Coach Kosmalski, in his sixth year with the program, had already bettered his program record win total from last season, and with an offense firing on all cylinders, the Garnet looked poised to continue padding that number.

In the first Sweet 16 game on March 9, Springfield College took down Hamilton College in a 92-90 overtime thriller. The game to follow, between the Garnet and Plattsburgh State, would be nowhere near as close, as the Garnet routed the Cardinals 93-63 in front of a packed house, in spite of it being the last day of classes before spring break. Zack Yonda 18, the fantastic senior guard and career 1,000-point scorer, showed that he was not yet ready to say goodbye to Tarble Pavilion as he led the Garnet with 19 points on 5-7 shooting, including a trio of three-pointers. Nate Shafer 20, the sophomore big, was unstoppable in the paint, going an incredible nine for 10 from the floor and recording a near double-double with eight rebounds. Zac O’Dell ’20 was similarly dominant down low, scoring 15 while grabbing 10 boards. Cam Wiley 19, who eclipsed 1,000 career points during this postseason campaign, added 14 while dishing out five assists.

The Garnet had a significant advantage in size, and that showed in their domination of the paint, out-rebounding the Cardinals 40-32 and outscoring them 54-20 in the paint. The Garnet were able to effectively shut down Cardinals’ star Jonathan Patron, holding him to 12 points on 5-14 shooting, a far cry from the 24 points per game he averaged all season. The crowd seemingly got to him as well, as Patron was called for a blocking foul midway through the second half before storming off the court and slapping the scorer’s table, for which he was assessed a technical.

Indeed, the game was never close as the Garnet held a 22-5 lead less than halfway through the first half and a 41-27 lead by halftime. At various points in the second half, they led by as much as 32. With their 30-point margin of victory, the Garnet maintained their streak of outscoring their opponents by at least 22 points throughout the tournament.

But there was little time for celebration as their win set up a national quarterfinals appointment with Springfield College the next evening, a school of 3,600 from Springfield, Mass. On paper, the Springfield team did not seem to present as much of a threat as some of their previous appointments. Springfield was unranked and only 21-8 heading into the game, while the Garnet had handily defeated no. 15 Wesleyan and no. 16 Plattsburgh State.

However, it was the sleeper team in that ultimately knocked the Garnet out of the tournament, securing the Pride their first ever appearance in the tournament’s Final Four.

It was clear from the beginning that this game would be a more difficult one than their previous tournament games, as the Garnet had shown an ability to score at will from all levels. Points came at a premium early in the first half as Springfield led 8-7 a third of the way through the opening frame. The Garnet were eventually able to find a rhythm as sharpshooter Conor Harkins ’21 scored seven straight near the midway point of the half, and the teams traded baskets until Yonda connected on a triple and an and-one layup to push the Garnet’s lead to nine. The Garnet looked to go into the break up nine, before a putback buzzer-beating layup by Heath Post gave the Pride some momentum back as they headed to the locker room.

The Pride opened up the half with a 14-2 run through the first eight minutes to retake the lead. The Garnet were able to retake the lead with just under eight minutes remaining as Ryan Ingram ’21 ran the floor to hit a three in transition. However, the Pride began to find their range from three-point territory as Cam Earle connected on three over a five-minute period while Jake Ross and Andy McNulty each hit one to push the Pride’s lead back up to seven with just over a minute left to play. The Garnet were forced to start intentionally fouling, but they were only able to connect on one of their shots the rest of the way while Springfield hit seven of eight free throws to secure the win and the berth in the national semifinals.

While scoring in the paint had come so easily to them earlier in the tournament, they struggled in the paint against the likes of Jake Ross, last year’s National Rookie of the Year, and Heath Post, who both grabbed double-digit rebounds. Ross also scored 23 playing without a single break, while Post added 18. On the Garnet’s side, O’Dell was held to 4-10 shooting while Shafer only managed to connect on one of his seven field goal attempts. For only the second time all season, the Garnet were out-rebounded 39-32. In the second half they were only able to connect on 31 percent of their field goal attempts while Springfield heated up and ultimately maintained their reputation as a giant-killer, having previously knocked Cabrini College and Albright College out of the tournament. 

The Garnet were treated to a standing ovation by the home crowd as they concluded the best season in program history, finishing 25-6 and advancing to the Elite Eight for the first time ever. The team sadly bids farewell to superb senior captains Yonda, Robbie Walsh ’18, and Jim Lammers ’18.

Swarthmore men’s basketball advances to the Sweet 16

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The Swarthmore men’s basketball team has been on the rise for years now. In fact, in the 2015-2016 season, the team had its first winning season since the 1996-1997 season. Much of the recent success enjoyed by Swarthmore men’s team has been due to its coach, Landry Kosmalski. In only five years at Swarthmore, Kosmalski has turned around a program that was consistently winning fewer than 10 games for years. Kosmalski brings vital basketball experience from his playing days as a star at Davidson College from 1996 to 2000. Kosmalski returned to Davidson after graduating as an assistant coach for the basketball team and briefly overlapped in his time there with current NBA star Stephen Curry. Kosmalski has brought a winning culture to Swarthmore and is a major reason why the team has advanced this far in the NCAA tournament.

The 2017-2018 squad has been the third team to win at least 20 games in the last three years, something Swarthmore’s team was not able to do for decades prior. Last year the team won the Centennial Conference Championship for the first time in its history, beating Dickinson at Tarble Pavilion. However, no Swarthmore team prior to the 2017-2018 team had ever made it the Round of 16 in the NCAA Division III tournament. Swarthmore’s team travelled up to Wesleyan University’s campus in Middletown, Conn., this past weekend, defeating New England College and the regional hosts Wesleyan to move onto the Sweet 16 of the tournament. The NCAA tournament rewards the best teams from different athletic conferences across the country with the luxury of “hosting” the first two rounds of the tournament. Wesleyan was one of these teams. The early rounds of the bracket are separated by region; this is why Swarthmore travelled to Connecticut as opposed to California or any other campus requiring a flight from Philadelphia. The Final Four semifinals and finals of the tournament are not hosted by a team, but rather a neutral site. This year, that site is Salem, Va.

Last Friday evening, the team suited up against New England College, showcasing its mental strength after sustaining a loss to Johns Hopkins in the Centennial Conference Championship just a week prior. Behind a massive first half, which included a 31-3 run in favor of Swarthmore, the Garnet defeated the 21-7 Pilgrims, 90-63. The team was led in scoring by standout guard Cam Wiley, who scored 23 points in 27 minutes of action. Wiley was efficient from the field, shooting 9-16. Zack Yonda ‘18 rose to the occasion, and shot 70 percent from the field to put up another 20 points for the team. Guard Conor Harkins ‘21 also came to play with 6 three-pointers on 12 attempts, which totaled for all of his 18 points. Harkins has consistently displayed his dangerous ability from three-point range this season, boasting the second highest three-point percentage in the Centennial Conference at 45.3 percent.

The team had little time to celebrate their victory, with the next matchup occurring the following Saturday evening against Wesleyan, playing in Wesleyan’s gym in front of a rowdy home crowd. The quality of the opponent themselves did not make the task any easier:Wesleyan was ranked 15th in the country prior to the NCAA tournament, and finished runner-ups in the competitive NESCAC league, one that includes top Division III programs like Middlebury and Tufts. Wiley once again came to play, and he put up his best statistical game of the year with 27 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists. Zac O’Dell ‘20 added 18 points, and Yonda added 13 of his own. Nate Schafer ‘20 had a great defensive game with five blocked shots and eight rebounds, and went six-for-six at the free throw line. Swarthmore’s team as a whole was fantastic on the boards, out-rebounding Wesleyan 44-29. Perhaps more impressive was the Garnet’s free-throw accuracy, which was an impressive 95.5 percent. This was a vast improvement from the Conference Championship game against Hopkins, where the team shot 53.8 percent, and arguably lost the game at the free throw line. The team hopes to continue its good run of form from the free-throw line on Friday during Round of 16.

Swarthmore got a pleasant surprise on Sunday when they learned that they would be hosting the Round of 16 and quarter-finals at Tarble Pavilion. This is the first time Swarthmore has ever made this round of the tournament, let alone hosted it. Many Swarthmore fans believed the team had played their final game at Tarble this year after the demoralizing loss against Hopkins, but the team surprisingly earned itself a hosting position for the next two rounds of the tournament. Swarthmore’s opponent for the Round of 16 is No. 16 Plattsburgh State, who hosted the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament on their campus in Plattsburgh, N.Y. The other game played at Tarble Pavilion will be No. 14 Hamilton College taking on Springfield College, both from New York. If Swarthmore defeats Plattsburgh on Friday, they will play the winner of Hamilton and Springfield the following night. Only two rounds stand in between Swarthmore and the Final 4 in Salem, Va. Notable teams remaining in the tournament include Centennial Conference rival Franklin and Marshall, No. 1 Whitman, No. 6 Emory, and No. 9 Augustana, among several other top 25 teams.

Swarthmore is focused on defeating Plattsburgh State this upcoming week, but they will also have their eyes on the other games taking place. The only team that both Swarthmore and Plattsburgh have played this year is Middlebury College, a NESCAC powerhouse school. Swarthmore defeated Middlebury in January 91-75 when Middlebury was ranked no. 2 in the country. Plattsburgh lost to Middlebury about a month prior, 92-68. This is hardly a credible metric given that both games occurred months ago, but it raises a compelling point. The NCAA tournament gives teams the opportunity to play out-of-conference games that would never occur otherwise. Swarthmore aims to fill their non-conference schedule with challenging opponents like Middlebury. Plattsburgh and Swarthmore would likely never play one another under normal circumstances. It will be interesting to see how these teams handle the game, given that they have no prior experience with each other.

That being said, glancing at the statistics some Plattsburgh players boast, it is clear who Swarthmore’s defense should try to neutralize. Jonathan Patron is a 6 foot-2-inch, 245-pound power forward who averages 24.3 points per game, which is more than any player on Swarthmore’s roster. Robbie Walsh ‘18 and Schafer will have their hands full in the paint with Patron, but both players have performed very well in the NCAA and Centennial Tournaments, so this challenge won’t be anything new. Eli Bryant ‘18 also appears to be lethal from three-point range, averaging 16 points a game. Overall, Plattsburgh averages 88.2 points per game and 74.3 points against per game. For comparison, Swarthmore averages 78.8 points per game and 67.3 points against per game. It’s going to be a great game, and one that Swarthmore will need support from all of its faithful fans to win.

With the team in unfamiliar territory this deep in the tournament, every friendly face in the stands will count. The student-athletes on the basketball team have been working since November toward this game, balancing their challenging classes and grueling practices all year. The team even sacrificed two weeks of their winter break to practice and play games in January. The tournament has provided a wonderful opportunity for the men’s team to show what Swarthmore basketball is all about. While spring break starts this Friday, any students sticking around should make their way to Tarble Pavilion to support the Garnet. I encourage all who can to come support the team at 7:30 pm this Friday, and help the team out in any way possible.

Athlete of the week: Jeffrey Tse ʼ19

in Athlete of the Week/Sports/Uncategorized by

This past weekend, the Swarthmore Garnet men’s and women’s swim teams both placed second at the Centennial Conference Championship meet. Among the top Garnet swimmers over the weekend was Jeffrey Tse ʼ19 from Ellicott City, Md. Tse won both the 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke, and he placed second in the 200 breaststroke. Tse also achieved a NCAA B cut in the 100 backstroke.

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

Jeffrey Tse: I am an honors economics major with an honors minor in statistics. I am also a course major in mathematics.

JC: What made you decide to attend Swat?

JT: I came for Ride the Tide and hung out with Liam Fitzstevens and Andrew Steele, two swim team members who have since graduated. They showed me how Swat Swim is one big family, and I loved how welcoming and friendly everyone was. In addition, I was really interested in the honors program and the small seminar-style classes.

JC: What is your favorite event(s), and why?

JT: My favorite event is the mile, because I get to watch Michael Lutzker destroy everyone else in the conference. I also like swimming the 100 back.

JC: What were some of the highlights of the conference meet for you and the team?

JT: Our senior class all had best times and went out with a bang: Alejandro Hernandez and Henry Wilson dropped bombs in the 100 breast, Carlo Silovetti and Ben Hsiung had some monster freestyle times, Arka Rao finaled in the 200 back, and Phillip Decker whipped his suit off in style. We also have a lot of young depth with Alec Menzer who won Rookie of the Year in addition to Riley McLaughlin, Secret Weapon Gabe Caldwell, Jeff Mun, and hopefully some awesome freshmen.

JC: Do you expect your B times will qualify you or any teammates for D3 nationals? If not, what are your goals for next season?

JT: Unfortunately, my time will not qualify for D3 nationals. We’re hoping to get Michael Lutzker, who is currently 16th in the mile, there. Regardless, our team will be extra motivated to win conferences next year. We would really like to get a relay to nationals for the first time in Swat history.

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