|Title:||Class of 2014|
|Organization:||Men's Swimming and Diving|
WPI has had its share of great swimmers and divers of the years. Not many have matched the feat of Jack Craffey, who burst onto the college athletics scene as one of the greatest swimmers in program history and ended his career as an accomplished diver.
Craffey set a quartet of individual freestyle records as a freshman in 1976. While the 200-freestyle record lasted two seasons, the 500-freestyle (4:51.77) stood for 29 years, while the 1,000-freestyle (10:20.80) and 1,650-freestyle (17:17.47) eventually fell in 1996. His standout freshman campaign also included a 7th-place finish in the 500-freestyle and a 10th-place showing in the 1,650-freestyle at the New England Championships.
His times qualified him for the NCAA Championships, which were held during spring break in 1976. With the way NCAA swimming and diving was structured back then, Craffey participated in the NCAA Division II championships in Spring-field, becoming what is believed to be the only WPI student-athlete to take part in a Division II national championship.
“When I started coaching in 2004, Jack’s name was still on the record boards,” noted current head coach Paul Bennett. “He held the 500 freestyle and the 1000 freestyle records and. remarkably. it took an athlete who was himself an NCAA qualifier to break each of his records. Mr. Craffrey’s times are exceptionally significant given that they would still score at our conference championships.”
Having been sidelined for part of his sophomore year, Craffey returned as a diver in 1978 before making his mark once again as part of the 800-yard freestyle relay team that set the 16-year program benchmark of 7:30.10 in his senior campaign. He wrapped up his career competing in a pair of relays in the New England Championships.
“After setting four school records in his freshman year and representing WPI at nationals, Jack’s shoulder let him down,” said WPI Hall of Famer Whit Griffith. “He remained a loyal swim team member by swimming what he could and diving. Jack’s records held up for twenty plus years and, believe me, we tried very hard to break them.”
A native of Bridgewater, Mass., Jack was a chemical engineering major at WPI. He was a member of Sigma Pi fraternity.
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