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Boumgarden makes his mark at national swim meet
By Jeff Febus
Peter Boumgarden
Peter Boumgarden

When looking for a college to attend, Calvin sophomore Peter Boumgarden sought a sense of balance. An All-State swimmer at Naperville (Ill.) North High School, Boumgarden had a number of opportunities to compete at a Division I school but, when faced with a decision, he chose Division III Calvin College.

Since making that decision, Boumgarden has not looked back, as he has thrived academically, spiritually and athletically. “I’ve never regretted my decision. Calvin has been great,” said Boumgarden. “When I was a senior in high school, I looked at some Division I swim programs, but I wanted a place where I could find a good balance between academics and athletics while also growing as a Christian.

“I didn’t want to burn out as a swimmer, and yet I wanted to be able to compete at a high level,” he continued. “I’ve been able to do that at Calvin.”

At the NCAA III Championships in March, Boumgarden took sixth in the 100 butterfly with a time of 50.06 to achieve All-America accolades in the event for the second straight year. He then captured All-America honors in the 200 butterfly with a sixth-place—and school-record—time of 1:52.62. He finished 14th in the event at the 2002 NCAA III Championships.

In addition, Boumgarden took part in a pair of All-America relay efforts, anchoring Calvin’s 800- and 400-freestyle relay teams. Calvin’s 800-freestyle relay team took fourth, with a school-record time of 6:49.16. The fourth-place finish was Calvin’s best-ever relay finish at a national meet, and it marked Calvin’s third straight All-America finish in the relay. Calvin’s 400-freestyle relay took All-America honors for the first time, finishing seventh with a school-record time of 3:05.02.

Boumgarden was also a part of three honorable mention All-America relay teams.

Calvin posted a team score of 111 points, finishing 13 points behind 10th place Kalamazoo College and Washington University.

“Peter had a terrific national meet,” said Calvin men’s swim coach Dan Gelderloos. “His leadership has been invaluable throughout the year, and it was evident again at nationals. We scored in all five relays, and there is no way we could have done so without Peter.”

Boumgarden has now earned eight All-America citations in his career—three in individual events and five in relay events.

For the second straight year Boumgarden was named to the All-MIAA men’s swimming and diving team. He also repeated as MIAA champion in the 100 and 200 butterfly events.

“It was a great experience to be around so many talented athletes from around the country,” said Boumgarden. “It was also very special to compete at a national meet with four other teammates. I was happy with my performance, but I think that I still have room to improve in the next two years.”

A business major at Calvin, Boumgarden also carries a communication minor and has an interest in journalism. He has been a member of the Calvin Dean’s List twice.

Boumgarden has an interest in working with young people, serving as a Young Life leader at East Grand Rapids High School. He is also a member of the praise band at Eastminster Presbyterian Church.

Boumgarden also finds spiritual fulfillment within the Calvin men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams. “There are a lot of different personalities on our teams, but they are also real strong in their Christian faith,” he said. “It’s something that you canlook up to every day.”