Graduating senior tri-captain Michael Winget began his swimming and diving career as a promising first-year with three top-six individual performances in the NESCAC Championships. He ended his career as an All-American, NESCAC champion and school record-holder.
Winget’s path from up-and-coming 18-year old to established national competitor was as much a result of his talent and consistency of some good, old-fashioned dining-hall food.
“I came in my freshman year, and I was 5 ft. 8 in. and about … 125 pounds,” Winget said. “Now, I’m about 5 ft. 10 in., 155. I gained a lot of weight which helped, but I worked really hard and over my four years here I tried to fine-tune a lot of my races.”
It was attention to detail that won him his first-ever individual conference title this year in the 200-yard backstroke, a career-defining accomplishment after three years of making the finals. However, it is the team’s performance that has stayed on Winget’s mind.
“Every single year I had been here, we placed fourth at NESCAC,” Winget said. “This year we placed second. That was great to show how our program is really moving in the right direction.”
While Winget could compete in any of the four strokes, it was in the backstroke where he was one of the top competitors in Div. III. He reached NCAAs three of his four years, decorating him as one of the most accomplished swimmers in Tufts’ history. As a junior, he placed fifth in the 200-yard backstroke, earning his first outright All-American award. He also reached the final in the 100-yard backstroke, picking up an honorable mention.
Winget’s senior season served as a fitting cap to an impressive career. After going through early-season dual meets and invitationals, competing in a wide array of races, he won the 200-yard backstroke conference title on top of a fourth place finish in the 50 and a second place finish in the 100-yard backstroke. At NCAAs, he placed seventh in the 200-yard backstroke and fourth in the 100-yard backstroke to cap off his career with three All-American awards. The latter finish was the best performance by a Jumbo in 30 years.
When it comes to Winget, the analysis never ends with just his individual performance. At NCAAs this year, the team finished 12th in the nation, the best performance by the program in a decade. He leaves the program with a box full of medals and a long list of school records. He also leaves a team of young, promising swimmers, looking to match the career of their former captain.
A math major, Winget looks forward to working for United Technologies Aerospace System as a quality engineer after graduation. Never one to leave the pool, he will also help coach a local swimming team.