DERBY, Conn. — Thomas Swartz '13, Yale lightweight crew alum and 2011 IRA National champion, has been selected to the Oxford Blue Boat set to compete in the 160th Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race on April 6, 2014. Swartz is the second lightweight alum to compete in the Boat Race in three years, after William Zeng '11 competed for Oxford in the 158th edition of the historic contest.
After walking on to the Y150 his freshman year, Swartz soon established himself as a vital asset to the team.
Y150 Alumni Head Coach of Lightweight Crew Andy Card recalls Swartz's quick rise from walk-on to elite athlete.
"Tom's story from his freshman year to Sunday's Boat Race is a remarkable one for anyone needing to reinforce the ethic of hard work and focus over a long period for eventual success," Card said.
"In his time at Yale, Tom worked very steadily and with concentration to improve himself and the team."
Swartz earned a seat in the Yale first varsity eight his sophomore year, rowing in five-seat as he helped the boat capture the 2011 National Championship.
His junior year, Swartz was again a central figure as he helped the varsity to a third place finish at the 2012 IRA National Championship. Swartz rounded out his Yale career by helping last year's first varsity eight to a silver medal at Eastern Sprints and the IRA.
Card suggests that an enthusiasm to learn and compete is behind Tom's success at Yale and beyond.
"Tom can take coaching and make changes and improvements. I saw that here at Yale and he has apparently impressed Coach Bowden as well."
"Tom just has guts. For him to take on this challenge in the first place, and then to go head-to-head with Olympians like Malcolm Howard and Storm Uru — not to mention the quality oarsmen in the Cambridge boat — is nothing short of a refusal to calculate the odds and just get on with it," Card added.
Swartz is the first lightweight oarsman to represent Yale at the Boat Race since Zeng competed for Oxford in April 2012.
Zeng's Oxford Boat was on course for victory in that contest before the race was famously interrupted by a protestor swimming in the River Thames. The race was stopped by officials, but a clash shortly after the restart resulted in significant damage to the Oxford crew. Oxford finished with a spirited performance, limping across the finish line behind Cambridge by four-and-a-quarter lengths. Zeng competed for the Oxford Isis Boat in the 2013 reserve contest.
The Boat Race is scheduled to begin at 12:55pm EST on Sunday, April 6. More information regarding this year's contest and its athletes can be found here.
Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity