Written By: Tom Higdon
Are you pushed more by your rivals or your teammates? For Navy Swim and Dive, a team who has defended their Patriot league title every year since 2004, the line between teammate and rival is blurred. When a team shows such consistent and enduring dominance as Navy Swim and Dive, it's hard to blame them for being so competitive with each other. Senior Ethan Tack looks back on the fierce level of competition amongst his teammates fondly. In Tack’s eyes the story of Navy Swim and Dive is far deeper than a competitive group of cadets.
Tack comes from a naval family and started swimming at age 9 while living on a naval base. It wasn’t until late into his high school swimming career that he decided he would follow in the footsteps of his father, who graduated from the academy in 1982, and commit to the Naval Academy.
In his first two years at the academy he was able to find immediate success. In both his freshman and sophomore seasons he was able to qualify for the championship final in the 200 fly, 200 IM, and 400 IM at the Patriot league championship. It wasn’t until his junior year though that he was able to see the true strength of his team. That year, the Patriot League championship was canceled just like so many other meets across the country. With colleges across the country being forced to rethink how to attack their seasons, the goal for Navy quickly came into view: Olympic Trials.
“We wanted to bring as many guys to Trials as we could,” said Tack. At that point Tack had not yet notched the qualifying time but by the end of the season he and 20 of his teammates had made the cut.
For many teams it was difficult to find success during the covid year but for Navy, their internal competition was at an all time high. Tack fondly remembers a friendly rivalry he had developed with former teammate Micah Oh. In his sophomore year at a duel against navy, Tack notched a
first place finish with Oh trailing close behind for second. A win against army was sweet for Tack but even sweeter was seeing his teammate help him conquer the top half of the podium. Even renowned caster Rowdy Gaines could feel the competitive spirit shared by both Navy swimmers when he commented on the 1-2 finish.
Now that Tack has reached the end of his collegiate career he is eager to take the competitive edge and discipline he has gained from Navy Swim and Dive into his military career. Tack will graduate from the Naval academy on May 27 and shortly after will travel to Peniscola in June to begin flight school. As for his swimming he still isn’t sure what his relationship with the sport will look like but there is some talk amongst his teammates of starting a masters program once they settle into flight school.
Ethan Tack Graduated from Half Hollow Hills High School earning letters in swimming in each of his four years at the school. The team won the New York State Public High School Championship in both 2016 and ‘17. Was named the county championship meet MVP in 2018 and earned Scholastic All-America honors. Swam for Team Suffolk on the club level. Ethan is a computer engineering major and his father graduated from the USNA as well.