headshot of Drew Hamilton at Wooster InviteIt didn’t take long for first-year student Drew Hamilton to make a splash as a member of the men’s swimming and diving team. In only his third meet at Case Western Reserve University, the first-year student broke three school records on three consecutive days, as the men’s team took home top honors at the Wooster Invitational.

“I never thought I would be able to do this well this early in the year,” said Hamilton, a finance major. “Going into the Wooster Invitational, I had no idea I was going to be anywhere near the records.”

On Thursday, Dec. 4, Hamilton overtook a 12-year-old school record (4:35.57) in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:34.73. He then broke a 13-year-old mark (4:05.14) in the 400 individual medley (IM) with a time of 4:04.80 on Friday. Former All-American Jon Gellin previously held each record. (Hamilton finished in second place in both races).

Then on Saturday, he swam a time of 9:38.63 in the opening 1,000 yards of the 1,650-yard freestyle. The previous 1,000 mark of 9:40.33 was set in 2004 by David Whitbeck. Overall, Hamilton finished the 1,650 in 16:02.28 to place first in the 33-competitor field.

“When I got the first record I was a little surprised, but from then on I challenged myself to see how many more I could get,” Hamilton said.

This isn’t Hamilton’s first experience earning a spot in the record books. He holds the school record in the 200 IM at Turpin High School in Cincinnati, where he also was named All-Ohio two seasons in a row and was honored as the Eastern Cincinnati Conference swimmer of the year as a senior.

drew hamiltonThe star swimmer considered several Division I schools such as Miami University, Bucknell University and the University of West Virginia, but he decided on Division III Case Western Reserve for the full student-athlete experience.

“Division III schools allow student-athletes to participate in many different things and still continue careers in their particular sport,” Hamilton said.

And while this allows him to have a more well-rounded schedule, with a significant focus on academics, it doesn’t mean his training isn’t rigorous. Each morning at 6 a.m., he and his teammates work out, whether in the pool, on the track or in the weight room. Then, after a full day of classes and homework, he’s back to swim practice at 4:30 p.m.

“It’s all about the time management,” Hamilton said. “Planning out your weekly schedule so you can fit in all the practices and still manage to study for every test that week is essential to every swimmer. Honestly, swimming helps me with school because it keeps me focused each and every day.”

Beyond excelling in academics, Hamilton is focused on achieving another goal: a berth to the NCAA Division III Men’s Swimming and Diving Tournament in March.

Read more about the first-year phenom in this week’s five questions.

1. What is your preferred mode of transportation and why?
Definitely a car. I love driving and jamming out to music.

2. What’s next on your reading list?
With the last of The Hobbit movies coming out, I have actually really been tempted to read the Lord of the Rings series.

3. What has been the most rewarding moment for you while at Case Western Reserve University?
So far, the most rewarding moment has been being able to attend the Anisfield-Wolf book awards downtown. I was able to see people come together to talk about current issues in today’s society.

4. If you had a day to do whatever you wanted, how would you spend it?
I love music, so I would love to spend the day at some sort of music festival.

5. What is your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?
My favorite thing about Case Western Reserve is how nice everyone is. The campus community is so welcoming and always willing to help.