Fordham Swim and Dive Receives All-Conference Academic Honors

The Atlantic 10 awards highlight classroom success following one of the Rams’ best seasons




On April 13, five graduating Rams on the men and women’s swimming and diving teams were honored by the Atlantic 10 (A10) for their academic achievements alongside their excellence in the pool. The award — the Academic All-Conference Team — is given to those athletes who maintained a 3.0 GPA or above throughout their college athletics career. 

Taras Zherebetskyy, Graduate School of Arts and Science ’23; Clare Culver, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’23; and Millie Haffety, Paris Raptis and Megan Morris, all Gabelli Graduate School of Business ’23, were the five selected to receive the award. This year’s nominations break the previous record-high of four Rams from the 2009 season and shine a light on the ability of Fordham student-athletes to thrive outside of their sports.

The swimmers are not only good students, but they have also proven themselves in the pool. They have contributed to excellent seasons for both the men and women’s teams. This year, both teams placed fifth in the A10 championships and posted incredible performances throughout the regular season. 

For those unfamiliar with swimming and diving competitions, both men and women’s teams compete simultaneously in the regular season, and many meets feature more than one university. This format makes for a tough but slow-grinding season as the Rams go from natatorium to natatorium, dueling in consecutive slews of events. Additionally, medals are awarded in championships only and not typically during the regular season. 

Swimming and diving is one of Fordham’s most successful athletic programs, and the recent awards shine a light on the positive impact it has on student-athletes’ potential beyond the pool.

The men’s team had an 8-1 record, and the women went undefeated, 10-0. They began with a 177-64 dismantling of rival school Manhattan College on Oct. 14 in the Bronx, winning all 32 events that night. Victories against Monmouth University at home and Marist College in Poughkeepsie kept the momentum going until Nov. 5, when the men lost 159-131. The women, on the other hand, extended their winning streak with a 196-104 victory. Not only did the Rams win 13 events that day, but diving star Haffety swept her heats.

Following that tournament, both teams went undefeated for the rest of the year. The regular season closed out with a three-way competition hosted by the Rams at the Colonel Francis B. Messmore Aquatics Center against St. Francis and Wagner colleges. Nearly every event was a sweep for both Fordham teams, and the memorable season came to a close.

Zherebetskyy, a freestyle sprinter and relay expert, was invaluable to the Rams when the A10 Championship arrived. He was part of the 400 medley and 400 freestyle races and earned a silver medal in the 100 freestyle event. Additionally, he marked bronze in two freestyle and medley events during championship week. Over the year, he set an impressive five school records, including four relay events during the championship.

Culver, another freestyler with a penchant for longer distances, is no stranger to the Academic All-Conference team, having been selected for the second year in a row. Like Zherebetskyy, she had an excellent run in the championship. She medaled in two events, winning a silver in the 500 freestyle and bronze in the 1650 freestyle. She also posted a school record for the 1000 freestyle. Outside of the pool, she holds many accolades, including vice president of the Student Affairs Student Advisory club.

Haffety spent only one year at Fordham — previously swimming at the University of Miami — but she outdid everyone’s expectations with her performances from the diving board. She set multiple records, was invited to the NCAA Zone A Diving Championship, and became the first Ram to earn gold in a diving event.

Raptis was an all-around all-star in the water, winning three golds during championship week in the 100 breaststroke, 400 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay events. He added to his hardware with a silver and two bronzes to come home as one of the most medaled swimmers on the team this year.

Morris, a transfer from Texas Christian University (TCU), scored in six races and helped the women’s team earn bronze in the 400 medley relay. At TCU, Morris proved herself as a top competitor, earning 11 podium finishes in the Big 12 Championships and holding nine of TCU’s top 10 times across all events. She also helped TCU win the National Invitational Tournament in 2020. At Fordham, her versatility and experience were valuable additions.

Although the season ended in March, the A10 recognized these five swimmers in April for their enduring commitment and dedication to their sports and studies. Beyond these awards, the five swimmers contributed to a revitalized program. While the women’s team has enjoyed success for more than a decade, the men’s team had been faring worse before now. In 2018-19, they had a 3-4 record, and last year, they struggled to break out with just a 5-3 record to show for.

As graduating swimmers move on and the team readjusts and develops younger talents, it seems that the program is in good hands. Christian Taylor, FCRH ’26, is already performing well for the Rams. Even as swimmers come and go, the Fordham swimming and diving teams are still holding fast and continuing to move in the right direction. 

Swimming and diving is one of Fordham’s most successful athletic programs, and the recent awards shine a light on the positive impact it has on student-athletes’ potential beyond the pool. The strength of the teams should carry into yet another swing at the A10 Championship in 2024 — this time with the hopes of winning it all.