On Feb. 8th, men’s swimming wrapped up their Centennial Conference regular season competition with a considerable 164-97 win. A large contributor to that success was first-year Ben Freeman ’23 who won the 1,000 meter free with a sub-ten minute time that is the third best in the Centennial Conference this year. He went on to win the 500 free with a time of 4:47.48 later that day.
Ben Lau: Why did you choose Swarthmore?
Ben Freeman: Swarthmore was the first school I visited out of state. I was actually a little taken aback by how nice everyone seemed. From just observing everyone going about their day, I thought this was somewhere I could see myself. I ended up coming back for a second visit just for swimming and was immediately treated like a member of the team. I remember sitting in one of the Cornell booths at about 9 p.m. laughing with some of the people I’d end up becoming good friends with like I was already a student here. That was the moment I knew what my top choice was.
BL: What are you thinking of majoring in (or alternatively, what subjects do you enjoy) and why?
BF: I’m torn between engineering and astronomy. All the classes I’ve taken so far have been excellent in both departments. I’ve always been drawn to the notion of space, and ideally I’d like to find fulfillment in expanding our understanding of the universe and our place in it.
BL: How did you get into competitive swimming?
BF: I first got into competitive swimming through a pool near my house that ran a club team in the summer. Over the next few years, I’d try lacrosse, basketball, and cross country, but none of them really stuck. I like to joke that I never had the coordination to be good at any other sport, but I think swimming was just the most rewarding. I love feeling like I’ve given 100 percent, and swimming was the easiest activity for me to go all-out in.
BL: What is your most memorable experience at Swarthmore so far?
BF: I think the event that sticks most in my head happened two weeks ago at the team’s home meet against Gettysburg. It was a close meet and came down to the last race: the 4×100 free relay. The entire team was behind the lane screaming at our four swimmers. The relay ended up beating Gettysburg and setting a new pool record. Being the leadoff leg for that swim and feeling the direct support of 40+ people was an unreal experience.
BL: How does it feel to win two events as a first year?
BF: Mostly I’m relieved that I’ve been able to balance a Swarthmore course load with a full schedule of training as well as I have. I’m glad my hard work has translated to swimming success. It’s nice to know I’ve been doing something right, and I hope to continue to be competitive going into the championship season.
BL: What are your individual and team goals?
BF: Heading into the last few weeks of the season, I’m looking forward to tapering and setting some new personal best times. Ideally, I want to place well at Conferences and help contribute some points toward helping the team to another conference championship win this year, as well as hopefully qualifying for NCAAs in some relays.