Unlike most Bowdoin students who are spending the summer with friends and family and making plans to watch the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan from the comfort of their homes, women’s swimmer and rising junior Emilie Grand’Pierre ’23 is training to compete at the Olympics.
In a semester marked by social distancing and COVID-19 tests, Bowdoin’s swim and dive team has exchanged their usual caps and goggles for face masks. Yet even as they struggle to navigate a new reality of pool reservations, Zoom meetings and dryland workouts, Bowdoin’s swimmers and divers are doing what they can to make the most of this unusual semester.
The women’s swimming and diving team came off of a strong first day performance to finish fifth at NESCAC Championships last weekend at Middlebury College. The meet was punctuated with outstanding performances from the Polar Bears, as both individuals and relay teams set new records and made the NCAA B cut times.
For Thea Kelsey ’20, Henry Isaacson ’22 and Wren Sablich ’22, diving off a three-meter springboard headfirst into a pool is not a foreign concept. All three athletes have been participating in the sport since they were first introduced to it at a young age.
With six Olympians, 22 NCAA championships, and 66 NESCAC titles to its name, Bowdoin’s athletics department certainly has a well-stocked trophy cabinet. However, many at the college don’t know that some of the most decorated athletes on campus aren’t even Bowdoin students.
The men’s and women’s swim and dive teams opened their respective seasons with a joint meet against Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) (Women 6-5, Men 3-6) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (Women 4-1, Men 4-1) on November 23.
On Saturday, May 4, more than a hundred triathletes will gather at Farley Field House for the Polar Bear Triathlon. An annual event, the triathlon attracts both experienced athletes and newcomers to the sport. Head Swim Coach Brad Burnham helped design the race 17 years ago.
Over spring break, All-American Sterling Dixon ’19 competed in the NCAA DIII Swimming & Diving Championship in Greensboro, N.C., where she placed second overall in the 200-yard Butterfly, breaking school and personal records in the event.
When Mitchell Ryan ’19 was a sophomore at East Lyme High School, he didn’t know whether his school had a pool. Six years later, Ryan has been named an All-American diver in the NCAA DIII Swimming and Diving Championships.
The men’s swimming and diving team placed fourth last weekend at the NESCAC Championship meet. Scoring a total 1,019.5 points, the team exceeded 1,000 points for the first time in more than 40 years. Despite the team’s record-setting effort, Bowdoin was outpaced by rapidly-improving league competition.
Last weekend the women’s swimming and diving team competed in the NESCAC Championship at Wesleyan. The Polar Bears placed seventh, failing to score as many points as in years past after challenges throughout the season. “I think we’re missing some of the depth [we’ve had in years past],” said Head Coach Brad Burnham.
Last weekend, Bowdoin’s swim and dive teams dominated the competition against two NESCAC rivals, with both the men’s and women’s teams beating Wesleyan and Trinity in two dual meets. The Polar Bears have had a particularly successful season so far, winning meets against Bates and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and hope to keep the momentum going into the NESCAC finals on February 14.
For two days last weekend, Bowdoin hosted the annual Maine State Meet for the men’s and women’s swimming teams. Seven college teams gathered this year, including three new teams—the University of New England, Saint Joseph’s College and Maine Maritime Academy, all of which joined since their traditional meet was cancelled.
Coming off a successful 2017-2018 season, the swimming and diving team officially started its practices with timed trials, preparing for the season’s first meet in two weeks. Last year, the women’s team placed fifth in the NESCAC Swimming and Diving Championship, with a program-record points total, and the men secured fourth for a program-best finish at the meet.
Over the last two weekends both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams finished NESCAC Championships with exceptional results. The women’s team scored just shy of 1,000 points, breaking the school record for most points scored in a single meet with 998.5 points, and the men’s team finished in a best-ever fourth place.
After an impressive victory by the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams over the Colby swim teams this past Saturday, each is looking to succeed in the NESCAC Championship, which begins on February 16. At Colby, the men’s team closed with a score of 197-79, and the women’s team came in at 204-64.