This weekend brought an end to yet another fantastic performance by the men’s swim team. The Jays took home fourth place at the NCAA National Championship for the fourth straight year.
Then ranked sixth in the nation, the Jays sent 13 swimmers to the tournament, the fourth-most in the country.
Nine of the swimmers were freshmen.
In true Hopkins style, the Jays brought their A-game to the tournament and swam home with honors abound as a result. Three swimmers earned Honorable Mention honors: sophomore Christopher Arena for pulling ninth in the 1650 Free in 15:38.33, junior Brandon Fabian for his 13th place finish in the 100 Free in 44.86, and freshman Dylan Wachenfeld for winning the consolation final and finishing ninth overall.
Senior Emile Kuyl took home First Team All-American honors after swimming 1:48.84 in the 200 Back, earning eighth in the race.
To top it all off, freshman Noah Corbitt, sophomore Nat Davenport, Kuyl and Fabian swam an impressive 3:00.13 to earn fourth place in the 400 Free Relay, a performance for which they earned First Team All-American honors as well.
The Blue Jays not only brought home honors for themselves but also torpedoed through school records as well. As a team, the Jays took home 37 All-American honors, the most since 2005 (45 All-American honors), and their 300-point finish is their highest since 2013 (316 points).
Kuyl and Fabian took seven home each for the second year in a row, with Kuyl ending his career with 19 All-American honors, 12th in Hopkins men’s swimming history.
Corbitt earned second place at the National Championship, and for this reason he is The News-Letter’s Athlete of the Week.
He spoke to The News-Letter about the team’s path to the tournament, his growth and his expectations for next season.
The News-Letter: You guys had an incredible NCAA showing. What did it take for the team to get as far as you guys did?
Noah Corbitt: If I were to sum it up, I would say hard work, dedication and consistency. Swimming is a sport where what you put in is what you’re going to get out. That means, for example, getting out of bed at 5:30 a.m. for that morning practice even if you don’t really want to or focusing on giving it your all in practice even when you are not doing well.
N-L: What did the team struggle with during the season?
NC: As a whole we definitely hit some road blocks. At the beginning of the season the [hand, foot and mouth] epidemic hit the team pretty hard with multiple swimmers having to take a few weeks off to recover. We also had a very young team this year out of the 13 guys that qualified for NCAA’s — six were freshmen. All of us had to adjust to the demanding class and swimming schedule here at Hopkins.
N-L: You’ve done so well this year. How does ending the season like this make you feel?
NC: I’m excited for next season. I think that the entire team is more motivated than ever.
N-L: How did your teammates help you grow and improve this year?
NC: Even though swimming may seem like more of an individual sport when compared to others, having a great team is extremely important. Personally, it was amazing to be able to come to practice every day and be continually pushed by my teammates. Everyone builds off of and supports one another in and out of the pool in order to achieve personal and team goals.
N-L: How will this season’s performance affect your preparation and goal setting for next season?
NC: This season showed me I have many things I can improve on for next season. As in any sport, in order to continue to do well you must continuously improve.