Due in large part to the efforts of captain Mac Routh '12, the men's swimming and diving team had its best ever-finish at the NESCAC Championships this past weekend.
Routh broke three individual school records and was a member of relay teams that broke four more, and on Tuesday, was named an All-NESCAC performer.
The individual records—each of which he had previously set—were in the 50 fly (22.27), 100 fly (50.36) and 50 backstroke (23.79), replacing the old marks of 22.49, 50.44 and 24.40. He also swam in the 200 and 400 freestyle and medley relays that set new school records.
Routh's contribution was key in the Polar Bear's outstanding performance at the championships; Bowdoin had its best finish ever, placing fifth with 903 points.
Routh, who has been swimming since the age of five, is certainly at home in the water. What has helped make the difference this season, however, has been the change in the team's training style introduced by Head Coach Brad Burnham.
"Our coach decided to take the training up a notch this year, increasing the yardage a little bit and also adding a weight-lifting component, which we haven't had in the past," said Routh. "For the people who did it and took it seriously, it made a difference."
He added that Burnham's "high attention to detail and technique—some of the finer points of swimming—made a lot of difference" from the moment he arrived at Bowdoin. "Immediately my freshman year, I dropped a lot of time compared to what my times were in high school," said Routh.
Throughout the season, Routh has worked on improving both his endurance and swimming technique.
"Mac worked all season on improving his breakouts, which are the change from kicking underwater to swimming on the surface," wrote Burnham in an email to the Orient.
"I worked on maintaining the speed I get off the start and off the turn, and translating that into speed swimming on top of the water," said Routh.
In particular, one of Routh's strengths as a swimmer is his dolphin kick, which is used in the butterfly and backstroke. The dolphin kick is used underwater when starting a race or turning, and is much faster than swimming on the surface.
Burnham wrote that Routh is "one of the fastest guys in the conference" when it comes to the kick.
The sports editor of the Orient chooses the Athlete of the Week based on exemplary performance.