During his two years on the Albright College men’s swimming team, I suppose you could say that Ralph Porrazzo, a Governor Mifflin High School grad, has been successful. He holds the school record in the 100 freestyle (46.44), the 100 backstroke (50.72) and the 200 backstroke (1:51.03), as well as being a member of three record holding relay teams.
He also holds the CYC and MAC Championship records in the 100 free, 100 back and 200 back.
“Ralph has done everything that you would ask of one of your leaders,” said John Stuhltrager, the head coach of the Albright College men’s swimming team. “He leads by example, working hard in practice, keeping a positive attitude even when the difficult sets are at their peak. Ralph worked hard in the offseason and it paid big dividends as he is way ahead of where he was this time last year.
The Albright senior started his college swimming career at Iona College, then transferred to Albright after his freshman season. He’s very happy he made the move to Albright.
“So far at Albright, I feel my swimming career has gone surprisingly well,” said Porrazzo. “Coming in as a transfer from Iona College, I was expecting the practices to be a lot easier. But little did I know it was the complete opposite. John Stuhltrager trains this team just as hard as the division 1 level I was at. I have accomplished many of my goals and cannot wait to see what my senior year has in store.”
The Governor Mifflin grad started swimming when he was nine years old. His brother Tommy was also a swimmer and Ralph always looked up to him. When Tommy switched to soccer, Ralph remained a swimmer because, in part, he wanted to be faster than Tommy.
Although his brother inspired him to get started in the sport of swimming, he gives most of the credit for his rise in the sport to his parents, Tom and Gail.
“They are the most hardworking loving people you will ever meet in this world,” said Porrazzo. “I 100 percent believe my achievements come from the way they raised me. I can’t stress enough how much they mean to me. They have always encouraged me to chase my dreams and pursue the sport of swimming. They come to all of my meets and are always cheering me on. If I swim a bad time, they always are my support and can calm me down. My mother always yells ‘Go RJ’ before every single race. My parents are the push it took me to apply to colleges and come to Albright.”
He comes from an athletic family. His father, Tom, played soccer and basketball, while his mother, Gail, was a gymnast and field hockey player. So it was no surprise when Ralph took up swimming.
He also played four years of water polo, where he had 29 goals in four years for the Mustangs. But even in high school, swimming was his number one sport.
“In high school, I remember racing my fastest 100 yard backstroke at a home meet,” said Porrazzo. “When I got out of the pool, my coach, Brady Stauffer, gave me a big hug and said he was proud of me. From that moment on I knew I loved the sport of swimming and loved my coaches and teammates.”
It was in college that things really began to click for him. In his sophomore year in college, his first at Albright, he started off with a bang, taking first in the 50 freestyle (22.40) in his first meet with the team.
That year he was first in the 50 free (21.51) at the MAC Championship Meet, and first in the 100 backstroke (51.20).
Then last year he went one step further, winning all four of his individual events at the MAC Championships. He capped off his junior season by earning the David B. Eavenson Award as the MAC’s Most Outstanding Swimmer.
“It was an honor to receive the David B. Eavenson award and represent Albright College,” said Porrazzo. “I would have never trained hard enough or raced fast enough to receive this award if it wasn’t for my teammates pushing me along the way.”
On Oct. 22 of this year, Porrazzo got his senior season off to a good start by winning the 200 individual medley in a time of 2:01.18, leading his team to a 115-78 victory over Lebanon Valley.
On Nov. 6, Porrazzo broke a pair of long-standing pool records. He won the 100 back in 52.97, breaking the old mark of 53.08 set in 2004; He was also part of the 200 medley relay team that set a pool record time of 1:37.49.
Those performances helped him win the MAC Men’s Swimmer of the Week honors. In that week he was a part of five facility records over a span of three meets.
With all of this victories and records under his belt, he has just one goal for he senior season at Albright - to make it to the NCAA Meet in March.