Pitzer College Swimming Stars Inducted into Sagehen Athletic Hall of Fame

Christen (Parker) Benke ’02 and Ben Komer ’02
Christen (Parker) Benke ’02 and Ben Komer ’02

Claremont, Calif. (October 3, 2012)— Pitzer College alumni Christen (Parker) Benke ’02 and Ben Komer ’02 were inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, September 29.

During her first year at Pitzer, Christen Benke set a school record and the SCIAC Meet Record in both the 200-yard backstroke and the 500-yard freestyle at her first SCIAC Conference Championships. The next year she was named team MVP and won both the 200- and 500-yard freestyles at the SCIAC Championships. As a junior, Benke again won the 200- and 500-yard freestyles at the SCIAC Championships, setting a school record and SCIAC Meet Record in both races. She also won the 100-yard freestyle that year and was part of a relay team that established a new SCIAC Meet Record in the 800-yard freestyle relay.

Benke graduated from Pitzer in three years and is currently a physician at the Scripps Clinic Medical Group.

Ben Komer ended his athletic career at Pitzer with seven varsity letters in three sports: four in Swimming, two in Water Polo and one in Track and Field. Komer earned Swim Team MVP honors as a sophomore, junior and senior, and earned SCIAC MVP honors as a sophomore and a senior.

As a sophomore, Komer set the Sagehen record in the 50-yard freestyle, won SCIAC titles in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles, and finished 15th at Nationals in the 50-yard freestyle to earn Honorable Mention All American. As a junior, Komer won SCIAC titles in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles. That year he set a school record and earned All American honors in the 50-yard freestyle at the National Championships, where he took seventh.

As a senior, Komer set two school records and won SCIAC titles—in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles along with a third place finish in the 100-yard butterfly. At Nationals, Komer finished 5th in the 50-yard freestyle to earn All American honors, 26th in the 100-yard butterfly and 15th in the 100-yard freestyle. Komer never lost a 50- or 100-yard race his last three years in SCIAC and set pool records in both events. Komer was named the Sagehens Most Valuable Athlete in 2002.

Following graduation, Komer trained for the 2004 Olympics and was top 30 in the nation, missing the Olympic Trials standard by 0.25 seconds. Komer took the State of Hawaii 50 meter freestyle record in 2003, which he holds to this day. A strong waterman, Komer won the “Koa” division of the Molokai Hoe Canoe Race in 2005. Komer is currently the vice president and partner at the Leahi Swim School in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Benke majored in human biology and Komer majored in psychology at Pitzer College.

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