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Underclassmen highlight Championships performance

11 mins read

Despite finishing outside of the top three at last weekend’s conference championships hosted at Gettysburg College, both the Swarthmore College men’s and women’s swimming teams put the rest of the Centennial on notice with phenomenal showings from its underclassmen. The classes of ’14 and ’15 combined for 24 of the Garnet’s 25 medals on the weekend, taking gold in 11 separate events.

Supriya Davis ’15 led the way for the women’s team with six gold medals and was named the meet’s Most Outstanding Performer for her efforts.

Davis is the first Swarthmore woman to win it since Alice Bonarou ’99 earned the honor in her senior season, and only the second freshman in conference history to receive the distinction.

On Friday morning, Davis debuted in record-breaking fashion during preliminaries, setting a conference, championship and school mark in the 200-yard IM (2:08.60), which also earned her an NCAA ‘B’ cut. Later that day, she captured gold in the event, finishing in 2:08.84. Her victory ended a twelve-year drought for the Garnet in the 200 IM, with Swarthmore’s last victory coming in 1999.

Not to be outdone by her classmate Davis, Kate Wiseman ’15 also had a strong performance on Friday, earning gold in the 50-yard freestyle (24.16) and breaking a school record in the process.

Davis and Wiseman also teamed up with Maggie Regan ’14 and Rebecca Teng ’14 to capture gold in the 400-yard medley relay (3:58.93), setting a new championship and conference mark and beating their nearest competitors by nearly four and a half seconds.

The Garnet women continued their dominance on Saturday, shattering records and collecting medals with relative ease.

In the preliminary trials of the 100-yard fly, Davis earned her second ‘B’ cut and missed out on automatic qualification to NCAA Division III Nationals by a mere four one-hundredths of a second.

Her time of 55.95 was a championship, conference, and pool record, and broke the school mark (56.66) set by All-American Anne Miller ’10 in 2010. During Saturday’s 100 fly finals, Davis won the event with a fast 56.11, finishing over two seconds ahead of silver-medalist Erin Lowe ’14 (58.80).

Also earning individual gold on Saturday was Regan, who won the 400-yard individual medley for the second year in a row (4:36.87). Having narrowly missed out on breaking the school and pool records in last year’s finals, Regan shattered them this time around by almost three seconds.

Davis and Regan again joined Teng and Wiseman, who picked up another individual medal with silver in the 100-yard breaststroke, and the foursome continued its record-breaking success, winning the 200-medley relay (1:49.12). Their time set a new mark in conference and championship competition.

“We were confident going in and got really pumped up, and it was really exhilarating,” Wiseman said. “Everyone had incredible splits, and we were so happy for each other.”

Remarkably, Saturday’s 800-yard freestyle relay was the only event in which Davis and Wiseman competed but did not medal. The pair, joined by Teng and Lowe, narrowly missed out on a medal finish, earning fourth place (7:52.77), less than three tenths of a second behind Gettysburg’s ‘A’ team (7:52.53).

Despite the women’s outstanding success after the first two days of the meet, the best was yet to come. On Sunday, the Garnet won gold in four of the six events contested, bringing their three day total to 10 wins out of a possible 18.

Davis swept the butterfly events, winning the 200-yard final easily and finishing almost seven seconds ahead of teammate Lowe (2:10.55). After earning another ‘B’ cut in preliminaries (2:05.97), Davis outdid herself in the finals with a time of 2:03.88, which was less than a second off of Division III automatic qualification (2:03.09) and good for a pool record.

Naomi Glassman ‘12 and Hannah Gotwals ’13 also finished well for the Garnet in the event, finishing eighth and ninth respectively (2:21.25, B-Final: 2:15.37).

Also completing a sweep was Wiseman, who sprinted her way to gold in the 100-freestyle and set a new school record of 53.09 in the process. The previous mark of 53.91, set by Claire Arbour ’00, stood for 13 years before being shattered by Wiseman. She is also the first Swarthmore swimmer to capture gold in the event since Arbour took first in 1999.

In the 200-yard breaststroke, Regan earned her second individual gold and fourth total, touching in 2:25.26 and setting a pool record.

Going into the final event of championships, the 400-yard free relay, the women sat in fourth place with 479 points, only six behind Ursinus College. The relay team of Teng, Lowe, Davis and Wiseman rose to the occasion, earning gold after swimming a fast 3:34.67, which was a new school record and only two-tenths of a second off of the conference and championships marks. Although Ursinus took second in the relay (3:35.87), their ‘B’ team captured first in the B-final (3:40.81), which secured them third place overall for the meet with 537 points to Swarthmore’s 527.

When all was said and done, the women’s swim team left Gettysburg with a lot of hardware: 22 medals (19 gold, 3 silver), all earned by underclassmen.

Davis’s six gold medals shattered the previous Swarthmore mark of three in one meet, and put her just behind Washington College’s Rachel Glasser (2010) and Franklin & Marshall’s Jenna Walters (2004), both of whom earned seven golds in a single championship. Wiseman finished with five golds, Regan with four, Teng with three, and Lowe with one gold and two silver medals.

On Monday, all five swimmers were named to the Centennial Conference first-team, while Wiseman and Lowe also received honorable mentions for their results in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 100/200-yard fly, respectively. Gotwals was named to the conference All-Sportsmanship team.

On the men’s side, Swarthmore finished fifth out of seven teams with a total of 406 points. The Garnet men also benefited from youth, as two of its three medals were earned by an underclassman.

Though they did not medal on the first day of competition, the men had a respectable showing, earning 94 points.

In the 500-yard freestyle event, Josh Satre ’13 placed 14th (4:51.01) and Peter Ballen ‘14 finished in 17th place (4:56.52). In the 200-meter IM, John Flaherty ’14 placed sixth with a time of 1:58.20.

On Saturday, the Garnet finally broke through and earned a spot on the podium with Flaherty’s gold medal performance in the 400 IM. His time of 4:10.11 set a new school record, breaking the previous mark set by John Lillvis ’03 in 2002 (4:11.49). The event also saw strong performances from Charlie Hepper ’13 (6th, 4:18.15), Daniel Duncan ’13 (8th, 4:19.99), and Zach Gavin ’14, who won the B-final in 4:19.01.

Sunday saw two more medal winning performances for the men: one for Satre and another for Flaherty. Satre swam hard in the 1650-yard freestyle and captured a bronze medal in 16:48.80. Flaherty added a silver to his individual medal collection with a strong showing in the 200 fly (1:55.70). His time is now the third fastest in school history.

On Monday, Flaherty was named first team All-Conference and received an honorable mention for his second place finish in the 200-yard fly. He also earned a spot on the Centennial’s All-Sportsmanship team.

Although both teams were unable to replicate last year’s third-place finishes, all of the swimmers have an incredibly positive outlook on the 2011-2012 season.

“As a team, I was hoping the men would finish higher than we did. The conference seemed to get really fast this year,” Flaherty said. “That being said, every person on this squad had a great meet. What more could be asked of them?”

Indeed, the Centennial is as fast and deep as ever, as demonstrated by the Dickinson men’s surprise second place finish in the overall standings, which pushed F&M out of the top two in championships for the first time since 1999.

Luckily, the swimming programs have an abundance of talented underclassmen and are ready to use the competition to push themselves to perform even better next year.

“I am extremely excited for the coming years,” Regan said. “I believe that everyone on the team is just going to continue to improve, which will mean even bigger and better things for the future.”

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