Martin Kafina ’13 broke two Wesleyan records in his final performance at the NESCAC Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships, hosted by Wesleyan Feb. 22-24. His record-breaking times of 0:23.10 in the 50-meter butterfly and 0:50.83 in the 100-meter butterfly came in the preliminaries, beating the 0:23.31 mark for the 50-meter that was set in 1995 and the 100-meter fly time of 0:51.09 set in 2001. He went on to finish sixth in the 50 and seventh in the 100, the best finishes for Wesleyan over the weekend.
“I have been after the 100 fly record for quite some time, and, knowing this would be my final NESCAC championship, I was pumped to give it one more shot,” Kafina said. “I have been swimming for almost my whole life and wanted to give my final championship my best effort.”
Kafina was a part of another school record along with Erik Yan ’15, Jacques Bazile ’16, and Wes Fantini ’13, who combined for a time of 1:35.58 to finish ninth in the 200-meter medley relay; the previous record of 1:36.13 was set back in 2005. Yan also later topped Kafina’s mark in the 50-meter fly, clocking in at 0:23.06 in the consolation final. Bazile was the Cardinals’ only other finisher in the top eight, taking eighth in the 50-meter breaststroke in his first NESCAC Championship.
“Seeing our freshmen making it back to finals and scoring important points for the team makes me confident in the future of the program,” Kafina said of the next generation of Cardinal swimmers.
“We were lucky to have Coach Peter Solomon as our head coach this year,” Kafina continued. “He is an experienced swim coach who teaches mental preparation before races.”
Williams and Amherst dominated the meet, finishing first and second, respectively. The Cardinals collected 481.5 points over the weekend to finish in 10th out of 11 teams. Wesleyan had more points than Hamilton and Colby (eighth and ninth, respectively) after the 22 swimming events, but Hamilton and Colby made up the ground in the diving competition, in which Wesleyan had no competitors.
The Cardinals finished the season with a disappointing overall record, but Kafina remained upbeat.
“I would like to begin by saying that our season record and place this past weekend does not reflect our accomplishments as a team,” he said. “We had a successful season because we started the rebuilding process. With a young team and an especially strong freshman class, Wesleyan swimming is headed in the right direction.”
It was a tough season for the Cardinals at times, but there were quite a few bright spots. As Kafina has made clear, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about next year.