Darton’s Macht ends freshman year with national title, 10 school records

Darton’s Anna Macht leads the 400-yard IM on her way to a gold medal at the NJCAA championships in Ft. Pierce, Fla., on Friday.

Darton’s Anna Macht leads the 400-yard IM on her way to a gold medal at the NJCAA championships in Ft. Pierce, Fla., on Friday.

ALBANY — Anna Macht just upped the bar for an already successful Darton College swimming program, leaving ten school records in her wake as she swam into All-America status and a national title at the 2012 NJCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Ft. Pierce, Fla.

Along with a silver-medal in the 200-yard individual medley and a fifth-place finish in the 100 freestyle, Macht swam the 400 individual medley in 4:27 — beating the former school record by five seconds and earning the school’s first gold medal in four years.

“I only wanted to win,” she said. “I was really excited. My goal all season was to win something (at nationals).”

And what a season it was for Macht, who broke school records in the 100 and 200 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 100 and 200 breaststroke, and the 200 and 400 individual medleys.

She also swam with relay teams that set new records in the 800 freestyle, 400 freestyle and 400 medley relays. In total, Macht holds seven individual records and three relay records at Darton after only one season with the program.

All the while, Macht earned excellent grades as a full-time student at Darton.

“If you had to define the perfect student-athlete, it would be Anna,” Darton swimming coach Molly Gilbert said. “She’s one of a kind — sometimes you have athletes that are really good, but they’re not fun to coach, or they make bad grades, or they have other issues — but Anna is the complete package.

“She’s a joy to be around. She loves what she does. She loves coming to practice.”

Macht’s father was a competitive swimmer, and he introduced her to swimming at an early age at her home in Germany. She said years of experience in the pool kept her relaxed and focused as she went into the national meet.

“I’m not scared,” she said. “I try to stay happy and tell myself that I can do it. I stay positive and think back to all of the training that I put in.”

While Macht said she will take a break now that her first collegiate season has come to a close, it won’t be long before she is back in the pool again.

“It will be time to practice for next year’s nationals,” she said. “My goal for next year is to become ‘National Swimmer of the Year.’ ”

Also bringing home Top 3 finishes at the national meet for Darton were T.J. Bland (second in the 200 breaststroke and third in the 100 breaststroke), Deniss Jariga (third in the 200 backstroke), the 400 medley relay team of Macht, Emily Mitchell, Karina Malmquist and Nicole Hawkins (second) and the 800 freestyle relay team of Macht, Mitchell, Hawkins and Natalia Martinez (third).

The Darton men finished fourth in the nation, while the Lady Cavs finished fifth.