Navy Men Salute their 2020 “Firsties” as they Prepare to be Commissioned

Many thanks to Ron Mita, who continues to compile this video tribute to the graduating seniors of the United States Naval Academy, years after his son Riley Mita ‘15 graduated the team.

For the swimmers and divers at the Unites States Naval Academy, graduation marks not only the end of four years as a Midshipman but also the beginning of life as an officer of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Graduation marks their commissioning as Ensigns and begins their careers in service to the nation.

With COVID-19 everything is different at the Academy and the moment these Midshipmen have waited for during their four-year career will not happen as planned. A Navy graduation is unlike any other in the nation. The President of the United States, or another high-office dignitary speaks, the Blue Angels soar overhead, and the Mids throw their covers (hats) in the air with abandon as they are commissioned as either Ensigns (Navy) or Second Lieutenants (Marines).

The seniors (“Firsties”) of 2020 will not have the traditional pomp and circumstance at their graduation. The Academy is holding mini-ceremonies and the formal graduation will take place virtually on May 22nd. After that, each Midshipman will report to their duty station to begin their time in service.

The class of 2020 is the 99th graduating class of swimmers from the Academy. During their four years in Annapolis, this class of Midshipmen won four consecutive Patriot League championships, competed at NCAAs, and etched their names in record-books. They will soon head into the fleet for training and get started on their careers. The class of 2019 saw two swimmers selected for submarine service, one marine pilot, one navy pilot, one flight officer, one surface warfare officer, one marine officer, and two Navy SEALs.

Each year the Navy men’s swimming and diving team sends their seniors off with a dramatic video highlighting their years at the academy and previewing what their life will be out in the fleet. Watch below to get a glimpse into what the future hold for these young men.

Navy Men’s Swim and Dive Class of 2020

Bradley Buchter – Diving:  Surface Warfare Officer

  • Hometown: Hickory, N.C.
  • High school: Trinity

Jac Cortright – Freestyle/IM: Navy Pilot

  • Hometown: Richmond, Va.
  • High school: Freeman

Chandler Derbyshire – Diving: Marine Pilot

  • Hometown: Oak Hill, Va.
  • High school: Chantilly

Joaquin Gabriel – Breaststroke: Navy Pilot

  • Hometown: Aldie, Va.
  • High school: John Champe

Andy MacGregor – Freestyle: Explosive Ordnance Demolitions Officer

  • Hometown: Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • High school: East Grand Rapids

Chris Mayer – Backstroke/Freestyle: Explosive Ordnance Demolitions Officer

  • Hometown: Lakeway, Texas
  • High school: Lake Travis

Nash Nickerson – Diving: Navy Supply Corp Officer

  • Hometown: Doylestown, Pa.
  • High school: Central Bucks South

James “Todd” Wilson – Backstroke/Butterfly: Navy Pilot

  • Hometown: Lancaster, Pa.
  • High school: Conestoga Valley


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6 months ago

“Non sibi sed patriae” (Not self but country)! May God bless these young men and keep them safe as they serve our country.

6 months ago

We all can continue to sleep peacefully at night knowing that young men such as these stand ready to defend our great country, America.

olde coach
6 months ago

A great example of our tax $$$’s well invested. “Fair seas and following winds gentlemen”…… of luck as you embark on your new journeys.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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