Aidan Cantine ’23, a senior from Ridgewood, N.J., finished fourth overall in the men’s mile at the NCAA championship meet this past weekend in Birmingham, A.L. His time of 4:05.36 broke the Swarthmore program record and earned him All-American status. This meet marked Cantine’s first time competing in the indoor track & field NCAA championships after an incredible senior season. The New Jersey native also ran cross country in the Fall, where he broke the Swarthmore mile record twice before the track season even began. Winning gold in the event at the Centennial Conference Championships earned him an All-Region selection last semester, and his record-breaking indoor track season will certainly earn him more regional selections later this month.
Abby Chang: How did it feel to earn your first career All-American selection?
Aidan Cantine: It felt great to earn my first All-American honor because it takes a lot of hard work. It was a goal of mine for the season, but it was not something I necessarily expected to achieve. I spent the season focusing on improving my mile time and working on different tactics at various meets. At the very last meet of the season, I finally ran a qualifying time for the National Championship meet. At Nationals, I was surprised and excited when I managed to finish in the top eight to earn All-American.
Chang: What was it like to compete at your first track & field NCAA Championships?
Cantine: It was a very exciting and unique experience to be able to compete among some of the top Division 3 milers from around the country. It was also a bit intense and required a lot of focus, as I had to go through a preliminary round where only half of the competitors qualify for the finals, which is something I normally don’t have to go through, and then race the final the following day. I enjoyed being able to share the experience of competing at a new, high-quality track facility with my teammates who also qualified.
Chang: What have been some of the highlights of the season?
Cantine: Some of the highlights of the season for me personally include being able to race at the Boston University indoor track facility a couple of times, winning the Centennial Conference mile in a very tactical race, and having our distance medley relay earn bronze at that same meet. For our team overall, the biggest highlight of the season is the large number of program records that athletes broke this year.
Chang: Do you have any pre-game or post-meet rituals?
Cantine: I always have pasta for dinner the night before the meet as well as hydrate the day leading up to a meet. I also always complete an hour-long warm-up routine leading up to a race. After the race, I usually cool down and stretch.
Chang: Why did you choose Swarthmore? What is your area of study?
Cantine: I chose Swarthmore so I could have a high-quality academic experience while also being able to compete on an athletic team in a competitive conference. I also liked the feel of the campus, and the people I met were all very welcoming. I am currently studying Computer Science and Psychology.
Chang: What is your favorite class that you’ve taken at Swarthmore?
Cantine: My favorite class that I’ve taken is Intro to Computer Science with Jeffrey Knerr, as I really enjoyed the coding in the labs. Ultimately, this class influenced my decision to major in computer science.
Chang: What are your plans after graduation?
Cantine: I am currently deciding whether I’d like to continue my education post-graduation.
Chang: Favorite Dining Center bar?
Cantine: I’m limited to the Free Zone, so I guess that’s my favorite.