Pair of Bowdoin Swimmers Win President’s Award

by Willem Stoll 3

June 06th, 2023 News

At this year’s President’s Luncheon, it was a pair of swimmers that earned Bowdoin College’s highest honor – the President’s Award – which recognizes students for “exceptional personal achievements and uncommon contributions” to the institution.

Bowdoin President Clayton Rose presented Ayana Opong-Nyatekyi ‘23 (Cherry Hill, NJ), and Peyton Tran ‘23 (Broomfield, CO) with the award for their contributions to not only the swim team, but to Bowdoin College at large. In the case of both recipients, they embodied the true meaning of being a student-athlete, as well as a leader on campus.

Opong-Nyatekyi graduated May 27th with a Bachelor’s degree in African studies and economics, with a minor in Hispanic studies, with honors for research in the Africana studies department. She was also the recipient of the Goodwin Commencement Prize for her essay “The Power of an Open Heart.” She will be starting a transaction track analyst at Kaufman Hall in Chicago after graduation.

Opong-Nyatekyi was a four-year varsity athlete at Bowdoin, a multi-time finalist at the NESCAC Championships, and a captain of the women’s team, where she specialized in sprint butterfly and freestyle. Her highest finish at the NESCAC Championships was 13th in the 50-yard butterfly in 2020. She also competed as a member of the track and field team, and a two-time NESCAC All-Academic team member.

Opong-Nyantekyi balanced the demanding schedule of an athlete while taking five classes a semester, compared to the normal four, while also serving as the head proctor for REsidential life, while also being a critical member of the Athletes of Color Coalition, Black Student Union, Christian Student Association, and Multilingual Mariners.

Tran also graduated on May 27th, with a Bachelor’s in Biochemistry, with a minor in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies. As a senior she completed two independent studies where she researched peripheral scientific approaches, and the recreation of critical brain receptors for medical research. Upon graduation, she will become a medical assistant in Massachusetts, and will pursue medical school in the near future. 

Tran was also a four-year varsity athlete for the Polar Bears, where she competed in the butterfly and backstroke events while also being a multi-time finalist at the NESCAC Championships. Her highest finish at the NESCAC Championships was 24th  in the 50-yard butterfly in 2022. She was also a two-time NESCAC All-Academic team member.

Tran had an extensive impact outside of the swim team, where she was a facilitator for the Nonviolence and Conflict Resolution program, a member of the Committee for Continuity of Teaching and Learning, a co-chair for the Conduct Review Board, a research assistant for the gender, sexuality, and women’s studies department, and a teaching assistant for the chemistry department. 

The Bowdoin Polar Bears finished 4th at this year’s NESCAC Women’s Championship, where they scored 1092 points, and crowned sophomore Ella Martin as the NESCAC Champ in the 50-yard backstroke. The Polar Bears went on to finish 17th at the 2023 NCAA DIII championships with 58 total points.

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1 year ago

Brad’s built a great program

1 year ago

Huge congratulations to these PBears! Well deserved! (Now it would be great if we could get an updated photo of the pool!)

Reply to  DIII
1 year ago

Go U Bears – Opong-Nyatekyi gave a wonderful speech at graduation, best of luck to all the graduates.