The men’s swimming team cruised to the Centennial Conference title for the fourth year in a row, winning by 204 points at the conclusion of the three-day championship event this past Sunday evening at the Kunkel Aquatic Center at Franklin & Marshall College.
The Bullets outscored runner-up Dickinson College 757-553, marking the fourth-straight season of winning by at least 73 points and the third consecutive year of winning by over 200 points. It is also the first time the program has won four consecutive titles since capturing 10 straight from 1990-99 (four Middle Atlantic Conference, six Centennial Conference). In addition, it gave Head Coach Mike Rawleigh his 39th conference title (men’s and women’s combined) in his 29 years at the helm.
Gettysburg brought home 16 medals, including eight golds, and set numerous pool and meet records. The Bullets also piled up 11 NCAA Division III Championship-qualifying “B” cuts while breaking four pool records, three meet records, and one school record.
Leading the way were Mike Harmon ’15 and Jason Potter ’15, who combined for 11 medals, nine B-cuts, four pool records, three meet records, and one school record. Individually, Harmon won both the 200-IM and the 200-backstroke while Potter struck gold in both the 100- and 200-freestyle. One or both of the swimmers also helped the Bullets win four of the five relays.
Stu Cubbison ’15 and Ashton Leyens ’15 also played a major role for the Orange and Blue, combining for seven medals, five B-cuts, three pool records, and two meet records. Leyens anchored three of Gettysburg’s four winning relay teams.
Other Bullets who contributed either as a medal winner, national qualifier, and/or record holder were Sean Staerk ’14, Tyler Gould ’16, Josh Kiehl ’17, and Ian Sherwood ’17.
On the women’s side, the Centennial Conference title was decided by the very last event between Gettysburg and Ursinus for the second year in a row. But unfortunately for the Bullets, the Bears rallied from behind to win the meet by 7.5 points, ending the women’s team’s hopes of a fourth-straight conference championship.
Gettysburg led by 10.5 points heading into the final event – the 400-freestyle relay – but the Bears won both the consolation and championship final to clinch their first-ever Centennial Conference women's swimming title, finishing with 671.5 points to the Bullets’ 664.
Lea Candelmo ’16, pictured below, turned in a tremendous meet to lead Gettysburg. She won the 400-IM with a school record, NCAA B-cut, and a Centennial Conference Championship meet record (4:34.04). She also captured silvers in both the 1,650-freestyle and the 500-freestyle, and her time in the 1650 was also a B-cut.
Emily Schmitt ’16 also captured a gold medal, winning the 100-breaststroke, while Sydney Boswell ’17 (100-backstroke) and Caroline Moyer ’17 (100-breaststroke) garnered one bronze apiece. In addition, Boswell reset her own school record in the 100-backstroke (59.00), and she teamed up with Moyer, Alyssa Pepper ’16, and Ali Roth ’14 to reset their own school record in the 200-medley relay (1:49.65).
Earlier in the season, the swimming teams received national attention for a charitable event that took place around their dual meet versus the University of Mary Washington on Jan. 25.
Mike Harmon ’15 took part in a 14-minute interview with world-class swimmer Jeff Commings of swimmingworldmagazine.com in which he discussed the team’s fundraiser for the Make Some Noise: Cure Kids Cancer Foundation. Initiated by Harmon, Gettysburg and Mary Washington combined to raise more than $6,000 for the foundation, which supports families and funds research for pediatric cancer. Both the Bullets and Eagles wore gold caps as they “raced for the gold” to help raise awareness and support. It was the second year in a row Gettysburg held an event around a dual meet to support the foundation.