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Helping Hands

No one would’ve blamed women’s basketball coach Renee DeVarney or swimming coach Karin Colby if they’d canceled Swarthmore’s winter training trips to Puerto Rico the way 16 other colleges did—after all, post-Hurricane Maria, parts of the U.S. territory remained without power or clean water.

DeVarney and Colby, however, saw an opportunity for their student-athletes to learn ... and to help.

“The needs of the people made me and the team want to go even more,” says DeVarney.

From the beachside town of Rincón, basketball players, coaches, and training staff drove a bus to the mountains to deliver water to families without access to transportation.

“I was able to speak to families in Spanish,” recalls Hayley Raymond ’18. “I will never forget them.”

“Our original plan was to train and experience warm weather,” says DeVarney. “Luckily, it turned into so much more.”

Boxer, Brief

In November, ESPN signed sportscaster and journalist Mark Kriegel ’84 to cover boxing.

A high-profile writing assignment might seem old hat—after all, Kriegel was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1990 for his essay “The People’s Court,” about playground basketball in New York City, and is an acclaimed novelist and biographer—but there are times he still can’t believe his career path.

“My father was a writer,” laughs Kriegel, “so I promised myself to not become one under any circumstances.”

That resolve lasted about two weeks after Swarthmore.

“Here I was, a recent Phi Beta Kappa graduate, trying to teach myself how to type,” he says. “At night, I would take a bus from the Port Authority to Paterson, N.J., and write obituaries for the Hudson Dispatch.”

After receiving encouragement from Professor Richard Rubin, Kriegel was torn between law school or a journalism graduate program. During the entrance exam for the former, he had an epiphany.

“I realized I couldn’t do it, so I walked out,” he says. “Columbia journalism school was the best thing that could’ve happened to me.”

Initially, Kriegel saw sportswriting as a stop along the way, but he soon realized the opportunity and education it provided (especially pugilism stories like this).

“Boxing makes me a better writer than I actually am,” he said. “Writing is all about conflict, and boxing accentuates that. All other sports are metaphors for what boxing actually is: combat.”

Other Athletics Honors


At the conference championship, the women’s team placed fourth, improving significantly from last season’s seventh-place finish. The men’s team finished third.


The women’s swimming team was the runner-up at the conference championship, its best result since 2008.

For the men’s team, Alec Menzer ’21 was named the Centennial Conference’s Outstanding Rookie Performer as the Garnet earned silver at the championship meet.