Success Follows Swimming Teams

The Raider swimming and diving teams finished their fall schedules after a two-meet road trip to New Hampshire and Boston College last weekend. The teams will now begin a two-month period of intensive training in preparation for their final four dual meets and the Patriot League Championships in late February.

During this fall, the men finished with a 1-4 record after several close losses. The women, meanwhile, had a successful month, ending with four wins and two closely-contested losses.

Against the Lehigh and Boston College men, the meets were decided by only 30 points each – a very small margin in swimming. Both teams are traditionally stronger than Colgate and, realistically, Colgate was not expected to win either meet. Looking to avenge a heartbreaking loss to BC last year that came down to the last relay, the men traveled to Boston only to fall again in the final seconds on November 13.

The men have definitely performed ahead of expectations.

“The dedication the team has shown to the program has been impressive,” senior co-captain James Silas said. “It’s not easy to show up at 5:30 in the morning and jump in the pool, but attendance has been outstanding – the rest of the season will be a continuation of our effort so far.”

“I’m very impressed with the positive attitudes the team has shown so far,” senior men’s co-captain Levi Benson said. “I expect this to carry us through the tough swimming in St. Croix and into Patriots, where we definitely have the potential to move up in the standings.”

The Raider coaching staff is also very pleased with the men’s results.

“The positive attitudes the guys have shown during practice is making the difference,” head swimming coach Stephen Jungbluth said. “The attitudes right now are better than they ever have been, and it’s showing. We’re swimming fast and we’re beating teams that aren’t expecting us to compete.”

The women, aided by a strong class of first-year swimmers, have dominated opponents in the pool. The team’s only losses, to New Hampshire and Boston College, have been to non-league opponents; this gives the Raiders an excellent outlook heading towards February. In anticipation of its success, the women’s team received three first place votes in the preseason Coaches’ poll. Having already taken down Navy and Lehigh, two of the top competitors for the league title, the team looks forward now to extensive training and defeating Bucknell, its primary rival and competitor for the top spot, on January 17. A win over the Bison would end Bucknell’s streak of three consecutive Patriot League titles.

“We’re a really close team, and this has been helping us perform well,” senior co-captain Amy Cole said. “We’re swimming to win, but equally as important, we are swimming for each other.”

First-year Lisa Marchi has been huge in the pool for the Raider women. She has already broken the Colgate record in the 1,000 free, and first-year records in the 1,000, 500 and 200 freestyles, as well as the 100 backstroke. Also, classmate Emily Murphy has taken the 100 and 200 varsity breaststroke records and fellow first-year Beverly Walker has taken down the first-year record in the 100 backstroke. The trio comprise a very promising first-year class for the Raiders.

“It’s great to come in and be able to help the team,” Marchi said. “Everyone is pleased with their performances and we’re already looking ahead to see what we can do in the coming months.”

On the diving boards for the Raiders, senior Emily McAuliff continues to lead the way with consistently high points, helping the women to victory in their four wins. For the men, first-year Stephen Haskin has come through strong.

“I’ve had lots of improvement very quickly; I’m pleased,” Haskin said. He has also been consistent in his performances, giving the men points on the boards to help keep the meets close.

Both Raider teams look to carry the momentum from their wins and fast swims through the long period of practice ahead. The upcoming two months are typically the point in the season where the swimmers look to focus solely on achieving the conditioning required to break records and score personal best times.

The Raiders next return to the pool in a competitive meet on January 17, when they welcome rival Bucknell to Lineberry Natatorium.