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White making waves at Vassar College

By Murray Gleffe


POUGHKEEPSIE, NEW YORK – Max White, a 2017 Ashwaubenon High School graduate, had his choice of Big 10 schools to attend for academics, but he wanted to continue his swimming career as well.

White was an all-state performer his final three years in high school and set four new records in the pool.

Enter Vassar College – a highly-selective, coeducational liberal arts school in upstate New York founded in 1861. The academics are very strenuous and swimming is offered at the Division III level.

It has one of the oldest college art collections in the country, with more than 19,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings and photographs spanning the history of art, from ancient Egypt to contemporary America.

“I did not know much about Vassar before coming here,” said White. “My grandmother was the person who told me about it. She used to go to summer camp at Marist College, which is across the Hudson River, and she always thought Vassar was a very pretty campus. It best tied to my desire to be a student-athlete. I want to be as competitive as possible in both fields and Vassar College has offered me a great opportunity in both.”

Ironically, nicknamed the Brewers, White set out his freshman year to help the team improve on its 4-11 mark from the previous couple of years.

Max White swimming for Vassar College (Picture Credit to Stockton Photo, Inc.)

At the end of his first season, he was named Liberty League Rookie of the Year, earning the individual title in the 500 freestyle at the league championship meet in an impressive time of 4:35.18.

He also made the finals in the 200 backstroke and 200 freestyle. He held the best time in eight events at the school and recorded 20 first-place finishes throughout the course of the year.

“The coaches have been especially amazing, allowing me to grow as an athlete and as a person,” said White, who is still undecided about his major. “The team is also very supportive and was immediately welcoming once I got here. Without both, I don’t think I could have broken the records as I did. Breaking both the 200 and 500 freestyle records was quite the experience.”

On Vassar College’s online sports athletics page, he made the No. 8 story headline for the year in any sport – an impressive feat for a freshman.

With the rigors of a difficult academic core and a sport to compete in, one might wonder how White has much free time.

“A bunch of us from my dorm love to play ultimate frisbee on a nice day,” White noted. “Occasionally, if I have some extended time off, I will make it down to New York City where the sites are truly amazing. I took in a Broadway show called Avenue Q and went to a restaurant called Max Brenner. It’s about 90 miles away, but the traffic can be bad and take up to two to three hours one way to get downtown.”

White’s family has since moved back to Seattle where they grew up, so he hasn’t made it back to Wisconsin since venturing out to the East Coast.

After such an impressive opening freshman year, White has excelled in several of the opening races for the Brewers to start the 2018-19 season.

The ceiling is high for White, as he continues to set new goals in a sport that he continues to excel in.

The Division III Men’s NCAA National Swimming Championships are held in late March at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in North Carolina and White hopes to makes a big splash.

“I’d love to finish with a National Champion title with regards to future athletic goals,” added White. “However, I would really just love to continue my academics. After school is done, if given the opportunity, I would wholeheartedly consider turning pro.”

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