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Sports Report

A Swimming Success

Rensselaer student-athlete Meghan Hartman ’04 could swim practically before she could talk — at age 2. “My mother threw me in the pool,” Hartman says with a smile, “and I loved it.”

Twenty years later, in 2004, Hartman is a national champion after winning the 200-yard breaststroke at the NCAA Division III Women’s Swimming & Diving National Championships in St. Louis, Mo., in March. Hartman, who finished with a time of 2:19.27, is Rensselaer’s first-ever national champion in swimming.

This is the fourth straight year that she has qualified for the NCAAs. Hartman, who has been the swim team’s captain for the past two years, is now an eight-time National All-American. She has earned the honor in the 200-yard individual medley (three times), the 400-yard individual medley (three times), and in the 200-yard breaststroke (twice).

This season, Hartman, a civil engineering major who has broken numerous school swimming records, was recognized as the Women’s Swimmer of the Week seven times by the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association and three times by the Eastern College Athletic Conference. She also earned Swimmer of the Meet at the New York State Meet.

“We have had an incredible four years with Meghan as an integral part of our team,” says swim coach Shannon O’Brien. “During that time, I have seen her grow as a person. She is approachable, understanding, and challenges herself and others through setting examples. She will be graduating RPI as a confident leader not only as an athlete but as an aspiring professional focused on an engineering career.”

Born and raised in Seattle, Hartman eyed Rensselaer on the other side of the country at the suggestion of her mother’s friend, Harvey Rubinstein ’69. After an overview of Rensselaer’s programs and facilities, and staying overnight with the swim team, Hartman says she was hooked.

“I got the right feeling,” she says. “I knew I needed to trust my gut instinct.”

This year, the 22-year-old will graduate with a 3.25 GPA. She will attend the University of Texas at Austin to work toward a master’s in environmental engineering.

Although she qualifies for the U.S. Open Swimming Championship, major competition in swimming will most likely come to a close for Hartman as she concentrates on earning her master’s and looks forward to an engineering career. But, she says, she could never give up the sport entirely and will most likely coach while attending graduate school.

“Swimming is in my blood,” she says.

Photo by Mark McCarty

Rensselaer Magazine: Summer 2004
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