VMI Swim and Dive Caps 2023–24 Season with Multiple Program Records

man diving off diving board

The VMI swim and dive cadet-athletes broke 26 program records in the 2023–24 season.—Photo courtesy VMI Athletics.

The VMI swim and dive program continued to make great leaps under Scott Thacker, second-year head coach, hosting the America East Conference Championships in the state-of-the-art VMI Aquatic Center and breaking 26 program records in the process.

Falling Forward

VMI had a pair of home dates in the fall semester, scoring victories over New Jersey Institute of Technology and University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Regular Season

The Keydets honored their 12 seniors before the meet against Washington and Lee, in which the men’s team nearly defeated the Generals, scoring a program-high 100 points (100-107).

On the women’s team, Walden Wilder ’27, who finished strong in the 200-meter individual medley all season, showed her prowess in the distance events, recording a new rat record of 4:53.51 in the Virginia Tech Invitational Feb. 3, 2024. Wilder was a key figure on various relays, alongside Jillian Maher ’24; Noelle Tong ’26; and Kate Taylor ’24, Three-Legged Stool recipient. Against Liberty, Maher claimed the 100-yard butterfly, while the quartet claimed first in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

On the men’s team, Ethan Griffith ’24 capped off his exciting season, in which he became the first Keydet to earn swimmer of the week honors since 2020. Tinn Nguyen ’27, Chase Lane ’24, Elijah Fields ’27, and Matthew Picard ’27 are all swimmers to keep an eye on, as they teamed up for a second-place time of 1:35.12 in the 200-yard medley against American University. In that same meet, Nguyen placed second in the 100-meter backstroke, with Layne Tucker ’27 claiming first in the 100-meter breaststroke.

Diving Into the Competition

The meet against American proved to be a good one for VMI divers, and all set personal records, as Lane Jones ’26 scored 258.22, Ryder Creal ’27 scored 194.47, and Craig Swain ’25 scored 157.80 and finished 2-3-4 in the men’s 3-meter dive. The trio repeated their performances in the 1-meter. Ella Davenport ’26 has been a strong contender for the women, scoring two personal records of 148.20 and 166.86 in the 1-meter and 3-meter events at American.

Making Their Marks

Taylor etched her name into the record books, becoming the first female in VMI history to swim a sub-24 second 50-freestyle relay split with 23.91, as she anchored the 200-meter medley relay at the America East Championship Feb. 14. The second day of the championship saw three records fall while day three brought 11 new marks for the Keydets. VMI capped off the championship Feb. 17 with notable performances, such as Picard’s team record of 45.49 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle and the time of 1:50.28 by Sam Castle ’27 in the 200-yard backstroke, marking a new team/rat record.