ATLANTA, Ga. – With just one race left in his already legendary career, Chris Swanson of the University of Pennsylvania men’s swimming and diving team etched his name even further into Penn lore on Saturday night. The senior became theQuakers’ first-ever NCAA National Champion, winning the 1650 Free in a time of 14:31.54.
In one of the tightest NCAA finishes ever, Swanson closed his final 50 yards in just 24.38 to defeat South Carolina’s Akaram Mahmoud by .12 of a second. In addition to becoming the Ivy League’s first National Champion since 1990, he also improved 10 slots from last year’s NCAA’s (11th place) and lowered his time by over 19 seconds.
The 14:31.54 also shattered his previous school record in the event (14:40.18), which he set at last month's Ivy League Championships.
Earlier this week, Swanson earned his first-ever All-America Honorable Mention honors in the 500 free. En route to an 11th-place finish on Thursday, he swam to a new Ivy League record time of 4:15.73.
Swanson wraps up his career with a National Championship, three All-America Honorable Mentions and nine Ivy League Championships—all school records.
Although Swanson was the only Quaker to swim in a final, Penn did send a school-record six student-athletes to Atlanta this weekend.
On Thursday, Alex Peterson clocked a time of 4:22.97 to place 45th in the 500 free. Freshman Mark Andrew also competed, taking 36th in the 200 IM with a time of 1:46.03. Senior Eric Schultz, who was making his second-straight trip to NCAA’s, rounded out the action with a 44th-place showing in the 50 free (20.11).
Those three were back in action on Friday, as Peterson and Andrew each competed in the 400 IM and Schultz in the 200 free. Peterson and Andrew placed 27th and 32nd respectively, while Schultz finished 40th.
Schultz saved his best for last, as he finished 22nd today in the 100 free (43.05). Peterson joined Swanson in the 1650, placing 30th. The Quakers’ 400-free relay team of Schultz, Andrew, Kevin Su, and Thomas Dillinger were also in action, coming in 23rd-place.