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Swim teams make splash at first exhibition meet back on campus

January 27, 2023

Courtesy of Brian Beard
THE WATER’S FINE: The swimming and diving teams won the majority of their events in a non-scoring meet against Division I University of Maine last weekend. It was their first meet back on campus after a winter break full of travel and training.

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams competed against the University of Maine on Saturday in an exhibition meet, and the Polar Bears proved up to the challenge. While the meet was non-scoring, Bowdoin won the majority of the events against the Division I team.

In January, the team competed in Providence, R.I. and Middlebury, Vt. and took a week-long training trip to Florida. After the extensive travel, the team was happy to be in home waters.

“It was great to finally be home. We just got back from Florida and have been traveling all over the place,” Rhys Edwards ’25 said. “We’ve been working really hard, and I think that finally started to pay off at this meet, where we all found our element.”

The team started out strong with a one-two finish in both the men’s and women’s 400 medley relays. Elizabeth Walsh ’26 dominated the women’s 400 Individual Medley (IM) with a 4:27.21, followed by Florence Millet ’26 with a 4:47.21. This swim by Walsh was her second fastest 400 IM of the season. She earned her personal best time and NCAA provisional cut of 4:25.31 in the Maine State Meet on December 2.

“I am just trying to keep the pressure off a little bit and enjoy my time with the team,” Walsh said. “I want to rehearse for those championship swims and make specific goals throughout those races, while not treating them too seriously.”

Brim Peabody ’25, Eric Degodny ’24 and Brad Schoenthaler ’24 followed Walsh’s performance with a sweep of the men’s 400 IM. Peabody led the Polar Bears with a time of 4:16.54.

These four events sparked a wave of momentum for Bowdoin. The team won 12 of its first 14 events on the schedule.

The diving team did not fare as well, as the University of Maine took both the men’s and women’s one meter and three meter dive events. However, Rickey Karunadhara ’26 scored a season best in both events.

The events at the meet were also broken up by events featuring alumni, including a 200 medley relay and a 50 of dolphin dives. Over 30 alumni returned for the meet. Filling the pool deck and stands, the alumni provided a supportive air throughout the meet.

The second half of the meet brought a more competitive slew of races, starting with the 100 free in which Tatum Zupnik ’24 took first place for the women with a time of 53.55 seconds, and Dylan Zhang ’26 won the men’s competition with a time of 48.42 seconds.

Penn Lee ’25 took a close first in the 100 breaststroke, trumping three UMaine swimmers. This win in the breaststroke was followed closely by a tight win in the men’s 50 fly by Jack Tran ’26 with a time of 23.35 seconds.

The meet featured two strong swims in the men’s and women’s 200 IM from Brynn Wright ’26 and Carolyn Casey ’26, who finished first and second place in the women’s race, respectively, with Zhang taking first in the men’s.

Finally, the Polar Bears ended with a tight win in both the men’s and women’s 200 free relays, finishing first in both with a 1:26.53 and 1:42.67, respectively. Ultimately, Bowdoin won 22 of the 32 swim and dive events competed.

The women’s team looks ahead to the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) meet this weekend at home, and the men’s team is looking toward its own CBB meet at Colby College on February 4. Those meets are the last dual meets before championship season, which starts with women’s NESCACs at Bowdoin from February 9 to 12. The men’s team will swim at NESCACs at Wesleyan University from February 16 to 19.

“Colby and Bates are in-state rivals but also two of the schools we will be close to at the conference meets. So the next four weekends will be filled with some great races,” Head Coach Brad Burnham said. “I think we bring the best out of one another.”


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