For swimming, losses can’t dim the joy of Senior Day

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The Garnet women came close to a victory over undefeated Gettysburg, but lost in the final relay.
(Justin Toran-Burrell/The Phoenix)

Pitted against the defending conference champions on Senior Day, the Swarthmore men’s and women’s swim teams both fell to the visiting Gettysburg Bullets on Saturday at the Ware Pool.

The women’s team played Gettysburg competitively all the way through, but ultimately fell in the final relay to lose the meet with a score of 110-95. On the men’s side, Gettysburg thoroughly dominated the Garnet, with the score ending at 110-55.

“It would have been great to send our seniors out with a bang, but Gettysburg has a really strong squad,” Daniel Duncan ’13 said.

“Still, both our men’s and women’s teams had some really great swims and it’s good to see everyone swimming so well so close to conferences.”

Though losing 110-95, the Garnet women put up a strong fight. (Justin Toran-Burrell/The Phoenix)

In the first event of the day, the relay team of Becky Teng ’14, Kate Wiseman ’15, Maggie Regan ’14 and Supriya Davis ’15 finished first in the 400-yard medley, easily outpacing Gettysburg with a time of 4:06.32. Davis, who has had one of the most impressive first-year seasons in the program’s history, added two more individual wins in the 200-yard butterfly (2:07.54) and the 200-yard IM (2:12.03).

However, Davis was not the only Garnet first-year with an exceptional performance on Saturday. Wiseman added two individual victories of her own in the 50-yard freestyle (25.17) as well as the 100-yard freestyle (54.44).

Other notable performances include Erin Lowe’s ’14 first-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle (5:23.54), and Regan’s win in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:30.82), a victory that kept the Swarthmore women in contention to win the meet.

“I was actually really nervous before the race, because the coach told me that I had to win, if we had any chance of winning the meet,” Regan said.

“I think it helped that the girl swimming next to me had beaten me in [Conference] Championships last year, and so I told myself, ‘I’m not going to lose to her again, I’m going to win,’ and I did.”

The Garnet and the Bullets traded victories all the way until the final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, which would determine the winner. Unfortunately for Swarthmore, Gettysburg’s ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams took the top two spots in the relay, ultimately deciding the meet in their team’s favor.

In the men’s meet, Gettysburg placed first in every event except for the 1000-yard freestyle, which was won by Swarthmore’s Josh Satre ’13 (10:22.79).

On the afternoon, Satre also placed fourth in the 500-yard freestyle (5:05.56), two places behind teammate Dan Duncan ’13 (5:00.02).

Although the Garnet men did not win another event, they barely missed out on several more victories. John Flaherty ’14 took second in the 200-yard butterfly (2:04.74), finishing less than a second behind Samuel Griffiths of the Bullets.

Tim Brevart ’12 was the runner-up in the 50-yard freestyle (22.01), losing to Gettysburg’s Mike Harmon (21.94) by just seven-hundredths of a second.

Senior Day honorees from the men’s team included Brevart, Sam Bullard-Sisken ’12, Dante Fuoco ’12, Lance Liu ’12, Neil Palmer ’12 and Travis Pollen ’12.

Pollen and Bullard-Sisken, who both graduated in December, made their return to Swarthmore for the festivities.

Naomi Glassman ’12, Rosalie Lawrence ’12, Jacqueline Scala ’12, Carmen Perez-Leahy ’12 and Amelia Possanza ’12 were the Garnet women honored.

“Walking toward the coaches to get my hugs and yellow rose was surreal,” Pollen said in an email.

“I’d seen plenty of seniors do it before me in previous years, but I never thought about what it would be like to be one of them.

“Four years on the team seem like they have gone both slowly and quickly. The hours spent practicing in Ware Pool felt interminable, yet the time I shared with my fellow seniors in the water and out has raced past me,” Pollen said.

While Pollen appreciated the honor at Saturday’s meet, she says the “true honor is having been able to swim alongside the fine senior ladies and gentlemen who stood beside me during Saturday’s ceremony.

“I’m so proud of all of us for sticking it out all four years, despite tough athletic and academic times.”

Reflecting on the day’s proceedings, Coach Sue Davis found the perfect story to convey the enthusiasm of this departing group of seniors.

“Last year, I surprised the seniors by saying, ‘Why don’t you sing the ‘Star-Spangled Banner?’” Davis recalled.

Lawrence suggested this year that the seniors sing the national anthem. “All of the seniors sang it, and sang it very well,” Davis said.

The Garnet now finds itself near the end of the 2011-12 season. This coming Saturday, the team travels to Dickinson for its final dual meet of the year (start time scheduled for 2:00 p.m.).

Swarthmore then suspends competition for two weeks before traveling to Gettysburg for the Centennial Conference Championships, held Feb. 17-19.

“We’ll go one meet at a time,” Coach Davis said. “I just pray everybody stays healthy.”

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