CLAREMONT, Calif. (AP) _ A West Point swimming champion who is studying Chinese and plans a career in military intelligence was one of 32 Americans named Rhodes Scholars, the Rhodes Scholarship Trust announced Sunday.

The winners of the prestigious scholarship, who receive two years of study at Oxford University in England, were chosen in nationwide meetings Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The trust is based at Pomona College in Claremont.

Yale and Princeton each had four scholars, Harvard had three, and Georgetown, Kansas State University and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., each had two.

This year's list contains 18 men and 14 women. Women have been eligible for the scholarship since 1976, and so far 154 have won it.

Martina Vandenberg, a 21-year-old International Relations major at Pomona College, said she was the last candidate interviewed Saturday and thought it was ''a lost cause'' when she was not among four students called back for further interviews. An hour later she learned she had won the scholarship.

In Grand Forks, N.D., Mary Ellen Preston said she was ''absolutely thrilled'' her son, Mark Sommerville, 22, had won a scholarship. ''It's a marvelous opportunity,'' she said. Sommerville is studying electrical engineering and fine arts in a dual-degree program at the University of Texas at Austin.

The list of scholars has references to 25 states. But the candidate- provided address often is a residence for the academic year and does not necessarily reflect the home state of the Rhodes scholar.

Among the qualities sought in Rhodes scholars are proven intellectual and academic excellence, integrity, respect for others, and the ability to lead and to use talents fully.

One of the two West Point recipients, Jennie Koch, who gives a Potomac, Md., address, will be cadet captain on the brigade commander's staff next semester. She ranks fifth in her class as an international relations major, and is considering a career in public service with an emphasis on foreign policy.

Also from West Point is Carolyn A. Ford of Pensacola, Fla., who was appointed to the academy through the enlisted ranks. A foreign language specialist in Chinese, she also is a brigade swimming champion and graduate of the Airborne School, and is a battalion commander. She plans a career in military intelligence.

Former Rhodes scholars include Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., entertainer Kris Kristofferson, former Los Angeles Rams quarterback Pat Haden and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White.

Athletic prowess is one of the measures sought as proof of talent, although participation in varsity sports is not essential.

Yale University's Tanya Pollard hikes and backpacks, while S. Kim Grose of Stanford is skipper of the Stanford University varsity sailing team, which took first place in the 1989 Women's Fall Championships.

Scholarship winners have college and university fees paid and receive a stipend to cover living expenses.

The Rhodes scholarships were established in 1902 by the estate of Cecil Rhodes, a British philanthropist and colonialist. Rhodes had hoped the scholarships would contribute to world understanding and peace.

There were 102 finalists from eight regional districts this year, said David Alexander, American secretary of the Rhodes Scholarship Trust and president of Pomona College.

The scholarships have gone to 2,564 American students since the program started. Scholars also are chosen from 17 other countries.

Recipients must be between the ages of 18 and 24 and be unmarried.