Swat Swimmers Reflect on Four Years

justin - swimming1_color printSwarthmore swimming honored its seniors during Saturday’s senior day meet at Ware Pool against Dickinson, with exciting, competitive swimming between two evenly matched teams. While the men managed a hard-fought 111-94 victory, the women fell to the Red Devils by the even more narrow margin of 104-101.

More importantly, the day was remembered for its commemoration of a graduating class that continued a long run of Swarthmore swimming strength throughout their tenure with the program. Both the men’s and women’s swim teams have had much success in the pool over the past four seasons, with the men posting a 23-11 record and the women 23-15. Although a Centennial Conference championship has eluded both programs, the two have combined for six above-.500 seasons in the conference.

The consistency of Swarthmore’s teams has been a large part a result of the careers of, for the men, Roger Chin, Daniel Duncan, Charlie Hepper, Nathaniel Lo, Patrick Monari, Josh Satre, Nick Sohn, and Lucas Zullo, and for the women, Hannah Gotwals, Emily MacDuffie, Katie Schultz, Chloe Stevens, and Alice Wong, all of whom swam in their final meet at Ware Pool on Saturday.

Several of these swimmers enjoyed a memorable final home meet. Satre starred for the men, earning victories in both distance events: the 1000 and 500 yard freestyles. Satre, Swarthmore’s only multiple-winner on the day, appreciated the timing of his season-best performance. “It was nice going out with a bang,” commented the honors political science major from Hockenssin, DE. Duncan also notched a victory in the 200 freestyle, while Swarthmore’s lone other individual victory came from John Flaherty ’14, in the 200 individual medley.

Though their efforts came ultimately in a losing effort, the senior women’s swimmers kept Swarthmore close to victory by leading a sweep of the relay events. The foursome of MacDuffie, Gotwals, Eva Winter ’16 and Nikkia Miller ’16 led Swarthmore to a meet-opening victory in the 400 medley relay. Swarthmore also won the 400 freestyle relay, led by Erin Lowe ’14, Miller, Supriya Davis ’15 and Kate Wiseman ’15. The Garnet managed five individual wins on the day, as well. Davis and Wiseman continued to shine, winning two events each, while Winter won the 200 breaststroke.

While most of the individual victories this season have come from underclassmen, the team’s seniors have embraced an important supporting role, providing depth and leadership to their younger teammates. Notably, Wong has consistently placed in both the 500 and 1000 yard freestyles, helping Swarthmore gain the few extra points that can be the difference in a closely contested meet. Wong reflected on her season saying, “Even though I don’t necessarily like swimming the 1000 or the 500 at every meet, if it means getting a few extra points for the team, I do it”. Wong’s willingness to regularly compete in these taxing distance events showcases her selfless determination to help the team in any way possible, an attitude that has certainly proved a positive example for younger swimmers such as Davis and Wiseman.

While the seniors have been successful in the pool, many cited their experiences outside of it among their highlights of being on the team. Wong said it most directly: “My best friends are on the swim team. I have been lucky to be a part of such an awesome team full of interesting people.” Duncan agreed with this sentiment. After highlighting some of the team’s impressive wins—including a 2009 victory over Division I Drexel—he emphasized that “Swimming’s been about more than athletics here.” As with Wong, Duncan noted, “My best friends are on the team,” adding, “Swimming and hanging out with them has kept me grounded in my time here.” Chin agreed that the swim team has helped him overcome the pressures of Swarthmore. “Swimming has brought me a family here at Swat and it has shown that everything is a little easier with some friends around,” Chin said.

For all the accomplishments of the class of 2013, there is one hurdle yet to cross: neither team has won the Centennial Conference championship in the past three years, meaning that this weekend’s championship meet at Franklin & Marshall will give the seniors one final opportunity to cement their legacy. Satre summed up the mood of the team: “I am focused on conferences now, and am hoping to make my final season a good one, finishing strong.” Regardless of their fate on Saturday, the Garnet’s senior swimmers have had a career that warrants the commemoration they received at Saturday’s senior day festivities.

Information from Swarthmore Athletics game recaps was used in this story. Dan Duncan is Sports Editor of the Phoenix. He had no role in the production of this article. Or did he?

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