Success Off the Block
Brian Benzing ’24 joined his first club swim team—the Columbia Clippers—in first grade because he wanted to be one of the cool kids. After two record-breaking years with the men’s swimming and diving team, the cool kids might just want to be like him.
The Catonsville, Maryland, native is the two-time defending Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Men’s Swimmer of the Year. He has dominated the 100-yard breaststroke at the college level, winning the CAA Championship two years running while also going unbeaten in the event in every regular season meet.
But by his own admission, the sophomore “wasn’t very good at swimming” in high school. Benzing attended an International Baccalaureate school after his father’s job took them to Oslo, Norway, at the end of Benzing’s sophomore year of high school.
A typical Monday for him started with a 5 a.m. wake-up. Practice went from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m. School ran from 8:50 a.m. to 3:50 p.m. before he hit the pool again for practice and ended his day with a dry land workout, getting home around 8 p.m. That foundation paired with a recommitment to making every practice count has propelled Benzing to his success.
“I try to be coachable and open to critique,” he says of his steep performance curve. “I think a lot of it comes with just maturing, figuring out my stroke and what I can do to maximize what I have. Before, I wouldn't say I was pushing myself as hard as I could in practice. I came to the realization that I needed to start doing that. That's what practices are for.”
In his very first collegiate meet, he set a school record of 54.81 seconds in the
100-yard breaststroke, eclipsing Jeremy Liu's mark of 55.33 set in 2014. He broke
three more school records his first season and swam an NCAA Championship B Final cut
time. By the end
of the year, Benzing held four of the program’s fastest times in the 100-yard breaststroke. The team crowned the 2020–21 season with its first CAA championship and the program’s first league title since 1981–82.
Benzing’s second season continued where his first ended. He set six pool, school and
league records over the course of the season in individual and relay events and continually
shaved time from his NCAA B Final cut time. While the men’s team finished third at
the 2022 CAA Championships, Benzing defended his 100-yard breaststroke title in 52.34
seconds, setting new TU, CAA and CAA Championship meet records and extending his unbeaten
streak in the event to a dozen. The lone CAA swimmer competing in the 2022 NCAA Swimming
& Diving Championships finished ninth in the 100-yard breaststroke preliminaries (51.47)
in the B Final with a time of 51.66—0.29 seconds below his qualifying time. That’s cool
by anyone’s standards.
New Head of Women’s Hoops
Former Coppin State head coach Laura Harper is the new women’s basketball coach. In 2021–22 Harper guided the Eagles to one of the largest turnarounds in the nation and earned Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Coach of the Year honors in her second season at the helm. As a player, Harper led the University of Maryland to the 2006 NCAA title and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
TU Athletics announced the 58th-annual Tiger Hall of Fame honorees in July. The 2022 class consists of Mindy Bean ’10 (softball), Stan Eisenhooth ’85 (football), Christina Ghani ’08 (gymnastics), Christie Landi ’97 (soccer), Brian Matthews ’78 (basketball) and Reed Sothoron ’05 (lacrosse). The 1971 men’s lacrosse team is the Team of Distinction.
Four former Tigers will continue their careers in Europe this summer. Dennis Tunstall ’20 signed with the Helios Suns in the Slovenian Basketball League. Alex Gavrilovic ’15 and Bryan Fobbs ’20 will be playing in Belgium. Gavrilovic signed with Belfius Mons-Hainaut, and Fobbs is on Kangoeroes Basket Mechelen. Terry Nolan Jr. ’22 will play in Portugal with Imortal Luzigas Albufeira.
Kendyl Scott ’18 rejoined the Great Britain National Women’s Softball Team to compete in the European Championship in Spain from July 24–30. The team won silver after losing to the Netherlands 7-0 in the championship game. Scott previously competed with Great Britain in the 2017 European World Championships.
Football redshirt seniors Luke Hamilton and D’Ago Hunter earned 2022 preseason All-CAA honors, announced at the annual media day on July 28. Hamilton made the all-conference team at fullback, while Hunter was an honorable mention at kick return and punt returner.