Swarthmore College is a private, independent, liberal arts college in the United States with an enrollment of about 1,500 students. The college is located in the borough of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, 11 miles (17.7 km) southwest of Philadelphia.
The school was founded in 1864 by a committee of Quakers who were members of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Swarthmore dropped its religious affiliation and became officially non-sectarian in the early 20th century. The college has been coeducational since its founding.
The Swarthmore College athletics program is guided by a philosophy that the intercollegiate athletics experience is integral to the educational mission of the College, and that student athletic experiences contribute to, and benefit from, experiences in the classroom and other extracurricular venues.
A founding member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Swarthmore supports 22 varsity intercollegiate sports at the Division III level. Swarthmore is also a member of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC), a conference comprising Division I, II, and III institutions across the East Coast.
Locally, Swarthmore is a charter member of the prestigious Centennial Conference whose members include Bryn Mawr College, Dickinson College, Franklin & Marshall College, Gettysburg College, Haverford College, Johns Hopkins University, McDaniel College, Muhlenberg College, Ursinus College, and Washington College .
Swarthmore sports teams are nicknamed the "Garnet". Team colors are garnet and white.
The 2007-2008 edition of the Garnet returns four starters and seven of its top nine scorers and has high hopes of returning to the Centennial Conference playoffs for the first time since 1997.
The loss to graduation of three-year starting point guard Chris Casey, will certainly be felt. Casey finished his career among the Swarthmore career leaders in both assists (3rd) and steals (4th) and was the team's top defender. Casey's likely replacement at the point is sophomore Matt Allen (Seattle, Washington) who played in all 25 games last year, averaging 4.6 ppg and led the team in free-throw percentage (.880). Senior off-guard Matt Kurman (Rockville, Maryland.) started 22 games last year, averaging 11.1 ppg. and 2.7 apg. while shooting 41% from 3-point range. He was named All-Centennial Honorable Mention. Senior center Ian McCormick (Seattle, Washington) started 23 games last year and led the Garnet in scoring (14.9 ppg.), rebounding (8.6 rpg.), and blocked shots (2.1 bpg.) seventh, third, and second respectively in the Centennial Conference. He was named second team All-Centennial.
Senior Steve Wolf (Philadelphia, Pa.) and sophomore Matt Turner (Audubon, Pennsylvania) return at the starting forward spots. Wolf averaged 13.4 ppg. (11th in the conference) and 6.7 rpg. (10th in the conference) for the year. Turner averaged 5.8 ppg. and 3.8 rpg., led the team in steals (1.2 spg.), and broke the all-time Garnet single-season record for charges taken (22).
Senior captain Noam Fliegelman (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) played in 24 games last year, averaging 2.3 ppg. Additional backcourt depth will be provided by senior captain Chris Nana-Sinkam (Lititz, Pennsylvania), and sophomore Aaron Sweeney (Los Angeles, California), and freshman Ryan Carmichael (Portland, Maine. Junior forward Raul Ordonez (Miami, Florida) played in all 25 games last year, averaging 2.7 ppg. and 2.3 rpg. Additional frontcourt depth will come from sophomore Danny Walker (Westbury, N.Y.), and freshman Sam Lacy (Jericho, Vermont).
Coach Lee Wimberly has pinpointed a number of areas in which the team needs to improve if they are to reach post-season play in 2007-08. Those areas include: improved field goal percentage (.393 last year) and free-throw percentage (.649 last year), reduction of turnovers (15.4 tpg. last year), and a better rebounding differential (-2.9 rpg. last year). According to Wimberly, "This is the first time in a number of years that we can be considered an experienced, veteran team. We must now play like one. Good things rarely just happen; we need to do what it takes to make them happen if we are to fulfill our goal of reaching the Centennial Conference playoffs and beyond."
The 2007-2008 Swarthmore women's basketball team will rely on a small, but experienced, group of veteran players in hopes of returning to the Centennial Conference Championships.
The Garnet are led by senior forward Karen Berk (Havertown, Pa./ Haverford), a two-time All-Centennial selection and team captain. Berk, one of the top post players in the region, led the Centennial Conference in points per game (18.5) and rebounds per game (12.5) last season. She scored her 1,000th career point against Dickinson College on January 25th, becoming the sixth Garnet woman to achieve the feat. She also led the conference in double-doubles (18) and free-throws made (125); and ranked (fourth) in the top ten in blocks per game (1.83), steals per game (2.08), free-throw percentage (71.8%) and field goal percentage (42.5%).By the time Berk wraps her up career, she will stand as one of the best Swarthmore basketball players ever. She currently ranks fifth all-time at Swarthmore for scoring (1,137) and rebounding (732), and is also sixth for most career field goals (432). She holds the career blocking record with 96 and also owns the single-season mark (44, set in ’06-’07).
Returning sophomore captain Pam Costello (Havertown, Pa. / Haverford) is known for consistent play at both ends of the court, averaged 7.1 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game. As a freshman, the forward started in all 24 games leading the team in 3-point shooting percentage, knocking down 37% of the shots from behind the arc. Costello ended the season on a high note) scoring a career-high 23 points in the final game of the season against Haverford on February 17. Senior forward Kristen Traband (Swarthmore, Pa. / Ridley), who scored a career-high 10 points in a win over Bryn Mawr College on December 13, will also look to contribute significant minutes for the Garnet.
The Garnet guards look to match the offensive out-put of their forwards, but will be without junior Melissa Grigsby (West Chester, Pa./ West Chester East) for the start of the season as she completes a study-abroad program in India. Grigsby led the Garnet in minutes played last season, averaging almost 37 per game (second most in the conference). She also led the Garnet with an 80% free-throw percentage, and was second on the team with 7.2 points per game.
Senior Laura Popovics (Gorham, Maine / Gorham), along with sophomore Lisa Schumacher (Middlebury, Conn. / Westover School), will be relied upon to handle the bulk of the ball-handling duties at the guard position. Popovics averaged 6.2 points per game for the Garnet in 2006-07 while knocking down 19 three-pointers in 14 games. Playing in 66 games during her career, Popovics missed the first half of ’06-‘07 pursuing her academic career while studying abroad in Prague. Schumacher scored a career-high 14 points against Franklin & Marshall College on January 13, and played a significant amount of minutes in all 24 games for the Garnet (she made 17 starts).
With the graduation of forwards Jess Fuhr (6’1”) and Sam Graffeo (6’2”), the Garnet will be pressed to replace height, but the addition of freshman forwards Summer Miller-Walfish (San Jose, N.M. / West Las Vegas), (Fort Washington, Pa. / Upper Dublin) and Sarah Brajtbord (Dallas, Texas / Greenhill), Swarthmore feels prepared to make an easy transition. Another newcomer, Ceylan Bodur (Istanbul, Turkey/ Robert College) will provide the Garnet with much-needed depth in the guard position.
Renee DeVarney enters her third season as the head coach of the women’s basketball program. A graduate of the University of Vermont, DeVarney has over 20 years experience in college basketball and will provide the team with wisdom.