It was a historic weekend for the Swarthmore College swimming program as both the men’s and women’s teams claimed the top spot at their respective Centennial Conference Championship meets for the first time ever. It was the first win for the women’s side since the 2001—02 season and third overall; the men’s team last won in 2018—19 and now has three titles in the past five contested meets. It was also the first time in school history for any men’s and women’s teams to have won the conference championship in the same year in their respective sport.
“This meet was a four-day celebration of the hard work, heart, dedication, and commitment that our student-athletes have put in over the past two years,” says head coach Karin Colby. “In the spring of 2020, when it seemed clear that COVID was going to disrupt our lives for more than a few weeks, our staff and swimmers decided everything we did moving forward would be rooted in where we wanted the program to be at these championships. I think it’s safe to say it was worth the wait.”
The women’s team completely outclassed the competition, leading wire-to-wire by totaling 950 points and a margin of victory of 353.5, both Centennial Conference records. Overall, the team claimed nine gold, 10 silver, and five bronze medals and additionally recorded five program-best times. With a host of NCAA “B” Cut marks, the Garnet are now waiting to see who will compete at the NCAA Division III Championships in Indianapolis from March 16 to 19.
On the men’s side, Andrew Karpenko ’24 helped lead the Garnet and earned Most Outstanding Performer and Most Outstanding Rookie Performer for his efforts. The Minneapolis native won all three of his individual events (200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke, and 200 breaststroke) in impressive fashion, breaking conference, championship meet, and pool records in each. Karpenko became just the third men’s swimmer in conference history to earn both awards in the same season and was also the fourth consecutive Garnet swimmer to earn Most Outstanding Rookie honors. In total, the team earned six gold, 10 silver, and two bronze medals while setting seven program records and recording several NCAA “B” cuts.
The NCAA will announce the full list of championship meet qualifiers in a few weeks’ time.