Presenting: Biola swimming’s new dynamic duo

Freshmen Raymond Kam and Andrew Benson ready to lead Eagles in the pool.

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Presenting: Biola swimming’s new dynamic duo

Austin Green/ THE CHIMES

Austin Green/ THE CHIMES

Austin Green/ THE CHIMES

Austin Green/ THE CHIMES

Austin Green, Writer

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It would surprise people who know them now, but Raymond Kam and Andrew Benson’s first meeting did not stand out in either of their memories.

An Unexpected Introduction

“The first time we saw each other, we walked right past each other,” Benson said.

Biola’s top two freshmen men’s swim recruits had already been texting back and forth after being introduced by a mutual friend in the spring of 2016. When they finally met face to face, however, neither of them looked like what the other had pictured.

“He is a lot bigger in person than I expected,” said the 5’9’’ Kam of the 6’2’’ Benson.

The two have since become close friends and are roommates this year. They are both already accomplished swimmers and local athletes — Kam went to Gabrelino High School in San Gabriel, while Benson is from Ayala High School in Chino Hills. Kam, the more versatile swimmer, specializes in the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke and the 100 yard fly. Benson only swims freestyle but can tackle any of the four distances: 50, 100, 200 and 500 yards.

United in the Pool

Their differences extend outside the pool, too.

“I am definitely a lot neater than him. Like, there’s a fine line between my side of the room and his,” Kam said. “I will make my bed in the morning and he will not. I will fold my clothes right after I do laundry and he will just leave his on the floor.”

Benson described his side of the situation.

“He will come straighten up my stuff sometimes and I am like, ‘No, leave it!’” Benson added.

Once Kam and Benson get in the water, however, their shared passion for swimming is undeniable.

“They have both come in with great enthusiasm, which is huge,” said Emily Mosbacher, the new head coach of Biola’s swim and dive teams. “They both give 100 percent every day, which is awesome. Andrew always wants to know what it is going to take to get to the next level. He always wants to do better. Raymond’s strength is how consistent he is in the water and in training. He has a desire to do everything really, really well. Their drive motivates me as a coach — it motivates the other swimmers on the team.”

A Set of Lofty Goals

Neither freshman is shy about the lofty goals they are setting for both themselves and their team, either.

“I really want to break school records. I definitely want to make nationals,” Kam said. “Next year, I want to help our transition process from NAIA to being an NCAA Div. II school, and start bringing this program up to those standards. The speed, the work, the mentality — things like that.”

Benson shares Kam’s enthusiasm for the team and his personal achievements.

“My personal goal is to win a national meet. Or multiple, that would be awesome,” Benson said. “I do not know how our team is compared to everybody else yet, but I feel like we are pretty good, so we will see how it goes. We are pretty well-rounded.”

With Kam and Benson joining the squad, the future looks bright for Biola swimming. It begins on Oct. 9. at the Splash! Aquatics Center across the street from Biola.