Swimming in three races over the three-day event, the lone Crimson representative earned All-American status while scoring six points, enough for a 34th-place finish as a team.
The junior began the meet on Thursday with a scorching time of 1:45.37 in the 200-yard individual medley, good enough for third in the B final and 11th overall. He qualified for the second-level final with a time of 1:45.62 in the morning preliminaries.
Rathgeber’s performance earned him All-American honors and garnered six team points.
“It’s been my goal since the beginning of the year to get All-American. For the past two years, I’ve gone to this meet and haven’t performed well,” Rathgeber said. “To come back and finish 11th is a really big personal accomplishment. It gives me motivation to get back there next year and get on the podium.”
On Friday, Rathgeber grabbed 20th place in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 3:50.38. He capped off the grueling weekend with a 23rd-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke.
Rathgeber swam the morning preliminaries in 1:44.42, which left him just short of the cut to reach the finals.
“In both the 400 IM and 200 back, I was just a couple of people away from making the finals, and the times were all bunched together, so I was close,” Rathgeber said. “You have to be on top of your game. Otherwise, you will be left out, and that’s what happened. You have to pay the price.”
Although Rathgeber was the only Crimson swimmer to make the trip—a change from years past—he managed to snare 34th place in the team standings despite the fact that he was competing against many multi-swimmer teams.
Although the rest of his team was in Cambridge, they followed the competition online and offered support from afar.
“It’s great to have him represent the team at the national meet,” co-captain Brian Fiske said. “He swam very, very solidly from the times that I saw. To have someone of that caliber on the team is something that makes the rest of us proud.”
—Staff writer Julie R.S. Fogarty can be reached at email@example.com.