Five-time Patriot League medalist Maggie Wyngowski ’21 is preparing for her senior season.
Photo: Marc Hagemeier
Getting In the Swim
by Andrew Faught

In the rare event that swimmer Maggie Wyngowski ’21 starts to trail in the 400-meter individual medley (IM) — an endurance race featuring four strokes: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle — she doesn’t worry. The best is usually yet to come.

“My strongest stroke is the breaststroke, and that’s really where I catch up or pull away from everyone else,” the three-time All-Patriot League First Team honoree says. Wyngowski, who holds the school record in the event (4:15.26), also is a five-time individual Patriot League medalist, winning gold in the 400 IM in 2020 and silver during her first two seasons.

She also holds two other school records: in the 200 breaststroke (2:14.54) and the 200 IM (2:00.15).

Wyngowski, of Schenectady, N.Y., credits technical acumen as much as physical prowess for her success.

“During races, I’m trying to think about what I’m doing right and if there are things I can fix,” she says. “Sometimes when I touch a wall, if I do it wrong, I try to fix it on the next wall. I’m constantly thinking about what I can do better.”

Wyngowski fell in love with the sport in the third grade, when she joined a competitive club team. She’s been swimming year-round ever since. COVID-19, however, disrupted her usual six-day-a-week training schedule. Pools were off limits in hard-hit New York, so Wyngowski spent the offseason this summer running to maintain her aerobic health.

There’s no danger of Wyngowski shrinking from adversity. Halfway through her sophomore season, she developed mononucleosis, which kept her out of the pool for more than a month. With the Patriot League Championships just weeks away, Wyngowski pushed herself to regain her strength. She went on to score 47 points at the championships for the second straight year, tying for second among Bison swimmers and ninth among all competitors.

The double major in psychology and Italian studies was drawn to Bucknell in part because of the swimming program, but also because of the small setting, which allows her to form close relationships with professors. After enjoying language classes in high school, she decided to pursue a degree in Italian. Wyngowski had planned to practice her skills this summer in a trip to Italy, but the virus scratched the voyage.

Now, as she starts her final season as a collegiate swimmer, Wyngowski is weighing postgraduation plans. She might go to graduate school for an MBA or pursue sports management. Sports psychology is another option, she says.

But these days, she’s most looking forward to her final campaign. While swimming is typically viewed through individual performances, Wyngowski cherishes the friendships she’s developed. “It’s not just about me,” she says. “There’s a whole team there that you’re swimming for. One of my main goals is to just have fun and enjoy the sport for my last year with all of my teammates.

“But,” she adds, “obviously I would love to go for a best-time swim.”

Instant Replay
Greatest career highlight
“Winning the 400 IM at the 2020 Patriot League Championships and seeing my teammates cheering when I finished.”
Balancing Swimming and Studies
“The balance between athletics and academics can be hard, but I’m lucky enough to have supportive coaches and professors who help me find a way to be the best student and athlete I can be.”
Finding Motivation
“I find motivation by keeping in mind my end-of-season goals, and I also find motivation through my teammates, who pick me up when I’m down.”
Lesson Learned in the pool that Spills Into the Classroom
“In the pool, I’ve learned the importance of hard work, and that hard work pays off. It’s the same in the classroom.”