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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Thursday, February 22, 2024

Tufts swimming and diving crushes Hamilton, celebrates Class of 2024

The men’s and women’s swim and dive teams claim huge home victories against Hamilton College.

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Willie Xu is pictured in the Feb. 2 meet against Hamilton College.

Both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams triumphed over Hamilton College on Friday. The women’s team won 175–113, and the men’s team won 166–109. The meet, the last home meet of the year, also served as an opportunity to celebrate Senior Night and honor the 19 swimmers and divers in the Class of 2024.

Many seniors gave strong performances in the meet. For the women’s team, this included Jillian Cudney, who won two events. Cudney won the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:54.15 and the 50 butterfly in 25.72. Senior diver Emma Fishbein won the three-meter event with 211.20 points, a collegiate best score for Fishbein. Elise Fong was first in the 100 backstroke at 1:00.77.

On the men’s side, the Class of 2024 swimmers also impressed. Graduate student Peter LaBarge won the 200 freestyle in 1:44.38 and also won the 50 butterfly. In the 200 freestyle relay, the Class of 2024 made up the winning lineup. LaBarge, Edwin Liang-Gilman, Eli Houlton and Will Stearns combined for a time of 1:25.33.

Based on strong performances from other class years, the team doesn’t need to fear for its future when the Class of 2024 leaves. To start the meet, junior Lara Wujciak, sophomore Quinci Wheeler, sophomore Jade Foltenyi and first-year Sydney Stasz took first place in the medley relay (without a senior member). Sophomore Madeleine Dunn helped Tufts cement its lead by winning two events, swimming the 400 individual medley in 4:35.52 and finishing the 500 freestyle in 5:03.67.

There were plenty of victories for other class years on the men’s side as well. Junior Eric Lundgren and first-year Oliver Grossman joined LaBarge in winning two individual events each. Lundgren excelled in the 400 individual medley with a time of 4:13.50, and he also went 53.51 in the 100 IM. Grossman’s 23.97 in the 50 backstroke was nearly two seconds faster than any Hamilton swimmer. Later in the meet, Grossman also won the 100 backstroke in 52.28. Other winners included juniors Ethan Schreier in the 100 butterfly and Soeren Euvrard in the 50 freestyle.

Even the newest members of the team made strong contributions. The top three finishers in the women’s 50-yard breaststroke were all first-year students: Aliyah Larson, Stasz and Mia Solomon. Larson set a new pool record in the 50 breaststroke with a time of 30.54, replacing the 30.73 record set earlier this season by Wheeler. The top men’s diver in the meet was first-year Jay Wilkinson. Wilkinson competed in both the one-meter and three-meter events, taking home the top scores in both (298.20 and 261.90, respectively). Rafae Shafi continued to show dominance in distance events with a time of 4:50.61 in the 500 freestyle, and first-year Jack Nussbaum won the 100 breaststroke.

Tufts dominated in the meet, such that beginning with 3-meter diving, the remaining events were scored as exhibition events for Tufts. This means that swimmers and divers still record their time or score but cannot score points for the team.

Senior night celebrations included posters, balloons and plenty of writing on the windows of Hamilton Pool. Members of the junior class organized the event and dedicated speeches to each senior. The team also celebrated with a dinner after the meet.

As the scale of the celebration shows, the program is very proud of the work and leadership of the Class of 2024. Several juniors on the team expressed that the seniors balanced a highly competitive spirit alongside supportive leadership.

“This year’s class is really, really driven, even compared to previous senior classes,” Euvrard said. “The reason they’re so driven is because they want to bring the team together.”

Junior swimmer Valeria Strohmeier agreed.

“The class of 2024 has always been so supportive of their teammates and [has] shown us what it is like to be a part of such a close team that is there for each other no matter what,” Strohmeier wrote in an email to the Daily.

Junior diver Cam Yuen noted that the unique experience of joining the team without normal competition during the COVID-19 pandemic may be one reason the seniors have invested so much in the team’s success.

“They lost one of the most important years of their college experience, their first year,” he said. “I honestly think that year probably made them one of the most driven classes out there. … As leaders this year, they want everyone to have the experience that they missed out on in their first year.”

Celebrating the contributions of the Class of 2024 also meant recognizing that the seniors will soon say farewell to the team.

It was a very special night and made me realize how much I am truly going to miss all of them,” Strohmeier wrote. “It is going to be very hard to say goodbye at the end of the season.”

Luckily, the season is not over for the Jumbos. The team culture that the Class of 2024 has helped establish will help the team as they approach end-of-season competition.

“The spirit that we feel and the togetherness that this team has generally is the best feeling, especially going into championship season,” Yuen said.

The Jumbos compete next on Friday at the Boston University Winter Open, with NESCAC Championships the following week.