Caroline Apathy ’21, a sophomore from Devon, PA on Bates’ swim and dive team, has been on campus for a little over a year and a half and has already seen the Division III NCAA stage and squashed program records. During her first season as a Bates swimmer, she earned five All-America honors at the 2018 NCAA Championships where she also broke the 200-yard medley relay record with a time of 1:43.86.
While her main events are the fly and free, she has proven a versatile competitor in several different events, ranking in the top 20-all time at Bates in the following: 50-yard butterfly, 200-yard medley relay, 100-yard butterfly, 400-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard freestyle relay, 400-yard medley relay, 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke, 200-yard butterfly, and 200-yard freestyle. Given that she has already accomplished feats several athletes work their entire Bates career to meet, Apathy has definitely set herself apart and has an exciting future on the rise.
Apathy has been swimming competitively since she was 7 years old. When looking at colleges, she knew that she wanted to commit to four more years of swimming at a school with a small class setting and liberal arts education. When reflecting back to her ultimate decision, Apathy remarked: “Bates College was the perfect place for me to continue my swimming career while also competing at a competitive, but fun, place where I could be surrounded by people who share a similar love of the sport.”
After taking a step back from swimming during senior year of high school, Apathy was unsure of what her first year as a collegiate swimmer would bring. By trusting her talent and persevering through the tougher training schedule, her expectations were surpassed beyond her belief. “I had no expectations for what was going to happen [my] freshmen year,” Apathy said. “I just wanted to score points for the team and swim to the best of my ability. I just let my training do the talking at NESCACS and NCAAs and luckily I got my personal bests.”
Apathy has used her freshman successes as, in her words, “a trial run.” “Sophomore year is when you can take what you did before and actually put it to use and take advantage of it,” she said. This has definitely rung true for Apathy as she was recently crowned the NESCAC champ in the 100-yard butterfly with a Bates record breaking time of 54.54 seconds after placing second in the 50 fly the previous day. “NESCACs is a time for our women’s team to show our strength in the conference and be the best that we can be,” Apathy said. “I may forget details of other dual meets throughout the year, but I never forget the excitement and swimming that happens at NESCACs.”
“I knew I wanted to win either the 50 fly or 100 fly at NESCACs and go a low 23 for the 50 free, but I never voiced this goals again throughout the year (besides them being in the back of my head as I trained) because I didn’t want to be disappointed if none of them happened,” Apathy continued. “I still can’t believe I won the 100 and I went a 22.9 in the 50 free on the 200-free relay, I didn’t realize going into Wesleyan that I was going to have one of the best meets of my life. It really showed me that anything can happen when you put your mind and body into your training and believe/know that you can go that fast.”
Her season has yet to end at NESCACs; Apathy will also be making several appearances at this year’s NCAA Division III Championships, to be held Mar. 20-23 at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, N.C. Apathy is the no. 1 seed in the 100-yard butterfly, 36th in the 100-yard freestyle, 53rd in the 50-freestyle and 14th seed in the 400-medley relay.
“My plan is to succeed in accomplishing day two of competition, for I am swimming four 100 flys in one day. I just hope to go faster in my races and to have the best time with eight of my friends at a really nice pool,” Apathy said. “It’s a different atmosphere and can get intense at times, but I just hope that I can finally finish out the season on a high note. You can’t control how fast your other competitors are going to go and you can’t control how you’ll feel after a race, so you might as well not worry and try your best.”