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Bears Swimming on the Rise

Victor Parks | November 17, 2022

Victor Parks - 2026The swim season is in full blossom at the Coast Guard Academy, as both the men and women’s varsity swimming teams are off to a hot start. The head coach of the swim team, John Westkott, has been very clear since the start of the season that he is going to be training us harder than ever before. This is because he sees potential and presence of talent to both finish out the 1/c swimmers’ last year of swimming on a high note and to plant the seed of new talent that will soon grow into the future of the Academy’s swimming program. This has been seen as many of the 4/c and 3/c swimmers are performing extremely well so far in the season.

A couple of dominate names within each grade are Charles Gaines, who is the star butterflyer and sprinter of the 4/c. Charles is already going extremely fast times to start out the season and he will only improve throughout the season as practice becomes more difficult and fitness levels become higher. For the 3/c, Colin Twiss, who was just recently been named an All-American swimmer, has been his usual dominant self in the pool in which he appears to never tire out while swimming distance freestyle events. On the women’s side of the pool, 4/c Masen Karsten is the new sprinter on deck. She is just under a second away from breaking a pool record and it is only her first couple of months swimming for the team. That should be more then enough to convince you the level that she swims at. Tailyn Schaufelberger, who is an all-around swimmer is also just seconds away from breaking multiple pool records as well. With all this young talent being acknowledged, its only fair to acknowledge the upper-class swimmers as well. The four captains, Bobby O’Donnell, Derek Ledford, Katie Dennin, and Meghan Bolin are not only performing well in the pool, but out of the pool as well. They have created such an accepting team-based environment that has made my Academy experience thus far much more enjoyable. The bonds that have already been formed throughout the whole team make it feel more like a family then just a team, which sounds cliché, but it is the truth. Especially with 4/c swimmers who are always fresh from the civilian world, the swim team members made the transition much easier and smoother thanks to their advice, mentorship, and leadership not just regarding swimming, but academics and military obligations as well. The swim team has been an amazing experience and I cannot wait for the memories to come!

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