Kingsmen swimmers take home SCIAC awards for the 2022 season


Photo contributed by CLUSports

Senior swimmers Miles Gaitan, Nick Kenny, Luke Rodarte, and Andreas Nybo earn All-SCIAC awards for events they participated in.

William Haddock, Reporter

California Lutheran University senior swimmer Luke Rodarte was awarded the 2022 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Swimmer of the Year this week at the SCIAC Men’s Swimming and Diving All-Conference, qualifying him for the NCAA Division III Championships. Senior AJ Nybo and junior Cole Weiderman took home awards as well for individual races they participated in.

Rodarte won both the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke, earning him the honor of All-SCIAC swimmer of the year. Rodarte took home five awards at last week’s championship, three for individual races, and two for relays he participated in .

AJ Nybo received five honors as well, also receiving three for individual races and two for relays. Nybo has earned a total of 19 All-SCIAC awards throughout his career. 

“Really I think it’s a cool representation of the team, two of our relays made All-SCIAC and that means more to me than the individuals, cause I think it shows the strength of us as a unit,” said Rodarte.

The two relays Rodarte and Nybo participated in were a 400m medley relay the Kingsmen placed second in, and a 200m medley relay the team placed third in. Fellow swimmers senior Nick Kenny, senior Miles Gaitan, freshman Keegan March, and junior Joshua Nekoba earned All-SCIAC awards as well for their participation in the 400m and 200m medley relays.

“I think it’s cooler when you do something as a team because we don’t get to very often, so the relays are the only opportunity where you’re really relying on the people around you,” Rodarte said.

Rodarte said the Kingsmen swim team swims about 85% of their races individually.

The team trains together for a total of 18-21 hours a week. This consists of nine sessions a week in the pool, three in the weight room, two dry land, and one yoga session. Rodarte and Nybo said the team works together to support each other through meets and training. 

“What’s very cool about our team is there’s definitely a big commitment to not only practicing in the water but making sure that people are eating healthy. Obviously your training doesn’t stop in the pool, it’s really important to rest and make sure that everybody’s staying on top of their game,” said Nybo.

California Lutheran University’s Kingsmen had several swimmers break new records including Rodarte, Nybo, and March. Rodarte, who described himself as a “breaststroker,” broke the university record in the 100m breaststroke with a time of 52.98 seconds. Nybo has raced in the 200m fly, the 200m Individual Medley, and the 100m fly, breaking the school record in the 100m fly with a time of 48.51 seconds. March broke the 200m free record with a time of 1:39.93.

“I think it’s just a really cool chance to show the payoff of all the hard work from the whole season and obviously it’s not an easy thing to, let alone make it through the whole season, but perform once we get to that final championship meet,” Nybo said.

Both Rodarte and Nybo plan to keep swimming after they graduate. Rodarte plans on going to grad school and swimming for the program he gets into. Nybo, on the other hand, plans to stick to swimming recreationally.

Rodarte said the best way for others to make All-SCIAC is to “trust the process” and “believe in your ability to swim fast”.

Nybo agreed with Rodarte and mentioned that “every little effort helps” while also emphasizing the importance of taking care of oneself by keeping up with school work.

“There’s a lot more to swimming than just putting in the hours and being in the pool for a certain amount of time,” Nybo said.

The 2022 Swimming and Diving Championships will take place from March 16-19 at the IUPUI IU Natatorium in Indianapolis.