Andrew Karpenko ’24, a junior from Minneapolis, MN, and member of Swarthmore men’s swimming team, earned Most Outstanding Swimmer for the second year in a row at the Centennial Conference Championships this past weekend. At the conference championship, Karpenko won gold in the 100 meter and 200-meter breaststroke, and 200-meter IM. His 200-meter breaststroke time qualifies as an NCAA B cut, and it also breaks the program, conference, and championship records at a time of 1:59.27. Overall, Swarthmore men’s swimming closed out a great season as Centennial Conference champions with a total of 868.5 points. Karpenko qualified for the NCAA Championships and will be competing from Mar. 15 to Mar. 18 at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, NC.
Abby Chang: How did it feel to be named Most Outstanding Swimmer at the Centennial Conference Championships?
Andrew Karpenko: This year, it really just felt like an extension of winning the conference meet as a team. We all worked so hard this year, and to be able to bring that award home for the team is something that I am incredibly grateful for. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of all of my amazing teammates and coaches.
AC: How are you preparing for the NCAA Championships?
AK: All of the people on the team who qualified [for NCAAs] will hop back into our normal season training cycle for the next couple of weeks, before we rest and taper again. The main difficulty of the meet, though, is that we will miss almost a full week of class, so working hard to get ahead is super important.
AC: What has been one of the highlights of the season, personally and for the team?
AK: Apart from an absolutely fantastic conference meet across the board for the whole team, I think my highlights would include our flawless Conference Dual Meet record for both the men and women, an incredible season of training both at Ware Pool and in Puerto Rico for training trip, and getting to know an outstanding class of freshmen.
AC: Do you have any pre-meet or post-meet rituals?
AK: I always do the exact same warmup routine before my races, and behind the blocks, there is a set amount of stretches and small things I do consistently every time. It helps me focus and gives me a sense of familiarity each time I race.
AC: Why did you choose Swarthmore?
AK: I chose Swarthmore because it presented a combination of everything I wanted out of my college experience: a fast and tight-knit swim team, challenging and interesting classes, and a beautiful and welcoming campus.
AC: What is your favorite class that you’ve taken at Swarthmore?
AK: My favorite class would probably be a combination of my music courses, as they are types of classes I have never been able to take before.
AC: Favorite Dining Center bar?
AK: It would have to be Fired Up. Can’t say no to pizza.