The name Alex Brion has recently bedecked the Binghamton University swimming and diving record board, becoming one that will surely be remembered in BU sports history. On Oct. 27, the senior sprint free specialist took down three records during a Binghamton men’s swim team exhibition meet. The first record to go down was the 200 medley relay, which the team, consisting of sophomore Shane Morris, junior Ross Bernstein, sophomore Patrick Wilson and Brion, beat by almost a second. The old record stood at 1:33.72, and the relay team claimed the new pool record with a time of 1:32.74.
Brion simultaneously broke two pool records in the 200 free relay, as his leadoff leg with a time of 20.90 was enough to break the 50 free pool record of 20.99 set by Brian McKenna, ‘17. While Brion broke the 50 free record, the team as a whole, consisting of senior Matthew Devito, junior Tyler Meyers, Wilson and Brion, broke the 200 free relay pool record of 1:24.08 with a time of 1:23.81.
“It felt really good to break the 50 [free relay pool] record,” Brion said. “Once Brian McKenna broke it my freshman year and the record was put up, it was always my goal to get my name up there, and coming into this year, one of my goals was to break the pool record, and I’m just ecstatic that I was able to do it at our technical second meet even though we didn’t have anyone to race against. It’s just a good feeling that I can think that in the history of the pool, I’m the fastest that’s ever gone in the 50.”
Brion has an impressive collection of accolades to his name, but this star athlete did not come to be a record-breaker overnight. Before committing to Binghamton, Brion began his swimming career when he was just 7 years old.
“I watched my sister the year before [I started] swimming, and I was just in the stands, and I just got bored not being in the water, so I asked my parents if I could swim, and they said yes, and it’s been that way ever since,” Brion said.
Now Brion is one of Binghamton’s top swimmers and a team captain. Brion’s commitment to Binghamton was a process that began with the suggestion of a friend already recruited to the Binghamton swim team and a meeting with BU head coach Brad Smith.
“I remember setting up a meeting with [Brion],” Smith said. “He came to the door and I saw how tall he was, and I said OK, this boy is gonna do something special. I said this boy has loads of untapped potential.”
Smith’s prediction about Brion doing something special was right, as Brion now holds three pool records and holds two second places from last year’s America East Championships in the 50 free and the 100 free, coming in with times of 20.77 and 45.53, respectively. Brion finished behind junior Ilia Rattsev of UMBC for both events, but he hopes to improve his record.
“There’s a couple guys on UMBC I know are faster than me right now in the 50 and 100, but at least with being in my position, I have room to improve and move up,” Brion said. “It’s nice knowing that there’s competition out there, and it’s definitely a drive for me to beat them at champs.”
While Brion has the drive to capture first place at championships, he is also focused on the team’s success, and as a captain in his senior year, Brion is hoping that the team can also take home first place.
“For team goals, I’d like as many relays to break team records as they can [at championships],” Brion said. “I know especially in the 200 medley and the 200 free, which we got the pool record for. We’re really gunning for those team records, and then it would be awesome if we could come out with a first place at America East Champs.”
Although championships are not until February, Brion and the rest of the swim team are preparing each and every day in the hopes of capturing that first-place title. With this amount of preparation, Brion has a chance to not only take first place in both the 50 and 100 free, but he also has a chance to break the team record of 20.00 in the 50 free. Brion’s success so early on in the season is undeniable, and if this is how Brion is performing now, he may become unstoppable as the season progresses.