The Davidsonian

Swim and Dive Propelled by Talented Freshmen and Strong Leadership

By Bilal Razzak ’25 (he/him)

Senior Abby Francis swims in a meet against Gardner-Webb on November 5th Photo Courtesy of Tim Cowie/DavidsonPhotos.com

Davidson Swim & Dive has always been a staple in the college’s rich history of Division I athletics. During the program’s tenure, they’ve been able to battle with some of the nation’s most competitive programs. In the 2022-2023 season, they hope to continue this tradition. 

At their opener against Queens University on October 1st, the ‘Cats were able to showcase their remarkable work ethic and talent. On the men’s side, newcomer Dylan Felt ‘26 was able to make an immediate impact, winning first place in the 500 free (4:32.18) and the 1000 free (9:28.47). These victories would be impressive for anyone, however his status as a freshman makes them even more spectacular. On the women’s side, veteran Shelby Stanley ‘23 shined, placing first in the following events: 100 fly (57.05), 200 fly (2:07.40), and 200 IM (2:09.32).  Stanley holds  the school record for each of these events. Alongside Stanley, Kate Pottle (500 free, 5:05.54) and Cynthia Huang (200 back, 2:07.53) also won their respective events, showcasing their grit and determination in a tough season opener. 

After this impressive initial showcase, the Wildcats have continued to shine. Against their longtime rival University of Richmond, our swimmers did well, winning 12 events. Once again, Shelby Stanley and Dylan Felt impressed, both winning 2 events each. In addition, Abby Francis ‘23 also won 2 events. The following Wildcats also won their respective events: Anna Newman ‘25, Rani Greer ‘25, Kate Pottle ‘23, Annica Valmaessi ‘25, Fletcher Smith ‘26, and Miles Charles ‘25. After their showing at Richmond, the teams competed against a variety of other schools. During their matchup with Gardener Webb, Davidson dominated. On the men’s side, they posted a score of 190-104. On the women’s side, they won in convincing fashion: 241-51. 

Moving on to the Bucknell meet, the teams were determined to make some noise. On the first day, Dylan Felt impressed, winning the 500 free. The divers were also extremely successful, with James Gourlay ‘26 and Ben Cutforth ‘24 securing first and second place respectively in the 3-meter competition. On the second day, wins came from Shelby Stanley, Dylan Felt, and James Gourlay. Capping off an extremely successful weekend for the freshman star, Felt won the 1,650 free on the third and final day. 

Examining the future of the team, the swimmers hope to continue their recent success. Junior diver Benjamin Cutforth commented on the season so far: “The season has been a lot of fun. It’s been a blast integrating the new freshman into our team culture. This year especially I think we are really harnessing the team spirit especially well, during practice and at meets. The hype and attitude we have been bringing has really paid off with some fast times and solid dives.” In the same way, sophomore Guil Ware gave his thoughts on the new freshman: “The freshman have done a fantastic job buying into the team culture both in and out of the pool. I think that the team really welcomed them when they first arrived on campus and the veterans made the effort to connect with them. Moving forward, it’s important for our older swimmers to continue to lead by example and show the freshman the ropes, while also making sure the freshman know that they have a voice and feel heard in the team.” 

Looking ahead, the teams are looking to get even better, hoping to make a big splash at the A-10 Conference Championships this year. Sophomore Jeremy Kemp talked about his hopes for the rest of the season, saying, “Although conference is just over two months away, there is still a lot more work we are planning to put into this season. On the 28th of December, the team is heading to Fort Lauderdale for a training camp before we get back to campus. This is something we didn’t get last year because of COVID, so I really think it’ll give us a little extra as we head into conference. On top of that, if we continue riding this wave through our dual meets in January/February, there is good reason to get really excited for what we’ll achieve at conference.” Just like Jeremy, we here at Davidson are excited to see where this team goes in the spring.  

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