Although neither the men’s nor the women’s swimming teams returned home with the championships that they had hoped for, several Swarthmore swimmers set school records and earned individual accolades. In the Centennial Conference Championships, held at Franklin & Marshall, the men’s team finished in sixth place, while the women came in fifth.
On the men’s side, the weekend was highlighted by John Flaherty ’14 winning the team’s sole medal of the weekend, taking the bronze in the 200 IM (1:55.99). In the 400 IM, Flaherty and Dan Duncan ’13 combined to deliver the top two performances in school history in the event. Flaherty lowered his own school record by about two tenths of a second, to 4:09.95, while Duncan was just behind in 4:10.79. Flaherty attributed his performance to the “support and motivation from my teammates, especially Dan Duncan ’13 and Charlie Hepper ’13.” Without the help from his teammates, Flaherty believes that “it would be really tough to get through the practices necessary to set such a mark.”
One dramatic highlight missed in the official results was the 800 freestyle relay, in which Duncan, Flaherty, Jake Benveniste ’14, and Sam Tomlinson ’15 teamed up to break a 15-year-old school record. The quartet touched fourth in 7:06.43, but were disqualified for an alleged false start. Although video showing no such thing occurred was not enough to overturn the officials’ decision, the evidence was enough for coach Sue Davis to recognize the swim as the program record nonetheless.
Other top performances included Flaherty’s swim in the 200 backstroke (4th, 1:55.34), while Duncan also made the A final in the 200 IM (6th, 1:57.38) and 200 butterfly (5th, 1:58.14). Other A finalists were Stan Le ’14 in the 100 breaststroke (8th, 1:01.07), Roger Chin ’13 in the 100 backstroke (6th, 55.53), and Benveniste in the 200 butterfly (8th, 2:01.97).
Although Flaherty acknowledged that the team would have liked to place better, he emphasized that the disappointing finish was not a result of a lack of strong races by Swarthmore. “I think the team was very proud of its performance this weekend. Almost everyone swam lifetime, collegiate, or season best times,” Flaherty said. “Even though we would have loved to finish in a higher place in scoring, everyone should be proud of how they swam this weekend and all season.”
The Garnet women were led by the usual suspects. Supriya Davis ’15 and Kate Wiseman ’15 earned two golds apiece individually, while teaming up on relays for another two gold medals. On the strength of her gold medal performances, as well as a bronze in the 200 IM, Davis earned the Female Most Outstanding Performer award for the second consecutive year. The feat marks the first time a Swarthmore swimmer has won the award twice, and with two years of eligibility remaining, Davis figures to remain the Conference’s top swimmer. Like Flaherty, Davis choose to credit her teammates for her success, saying that, “having my teammates there cheering for me, and supporting me is definitely the driving factor of my success the past two years.”
Davis hopes that her season is not yet over. Her times in the 100 (56.88) and 200 butterfly (2:07.53) met the B standard for the NCAA Division III championships. Although she noted that qualifiying with B standards means her spot in the meet is not guaranteed, she said, “If I do end up going, my goal would be to make it to finals and go for a personal best time in the 100 and 200 fly.” The NCAA will release qualifying individuals after this issue goes to press.
Wiseman was as impressive as Davis. In her top swim of the weekend, she swam a blazing 52.59 in the 100 freestyle. This time lowered her own Swarthmore College record, while setting a new Conference Championship meet record in the event. In another exceptional performance, Davis and Wiseman teamed up with Rebecca Teng ’14 and Nikkia Miller ’16 to win the 200 medley relay in record fashion. The team’s time of 1:48.81 shattered the both the school and Centennial Conference records for the event.
Wiseman and Davis were not alone in the Garnet’s medal haul. Miller came away with a silver in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.13), and Maggie Regan ’14 won bronze in both the 400 IM (4:43.77) and 200 breaststroke (2:27.95). Miller, Wiseman, Teng, and Davis won gold in the 400 medley relay (4:00.76), while Lowe joined Wiseman, Miller, and Davis in taking silver in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays (1:39.37, 3:35.53).
Davis characterized the team’s mood after the meet as positive, saying that “although many of us had ups and downs during the meet, I think we are all incredibly happy with our performance this weekend.” She singled out Wiseman for having “awesome individual swims” as well as noting that, “all of our relays were also swum with a lot of heart.”
Although Swarthmore did not finish in as high of a position as they hoped, the record setting individual and team performances will not soon be forgotten, and will elevate that standards of Swarthmore swimming in seasons to come.
Dan Duncan is sports editor of the Phoenix. He had a role in the production of this aritcle. Oops.