Swimming And Diving Has Tough Time At Army

Across from a large crowd of jeering cadets packed into the bleachers, the Colgate swimming and diving teams once again faced defeat. The squads had taken on one of the top teams in the league and the men and women had expectations for a hard battle going into the Army meet. Despite these daunting prospects, however, the athletes did not allow any room or time for intimidation – the focus was on the races and the races alone.”We knew going in that Army has one of the best teams in the league on both the men’s and women’s side,” senior captain Mike Gentithes said. “Going into the meet we were trying to focus more on our own races, knowing that if we race at our best, competition with the opponent will take care of itself.”The statistics didn’t look good; the men lost by a score of 178-111, while the women’s team fell by only a slightly smaller margin of 176-122. The Raiders won four events in total, three on the women’s side and one on the men’s. Senior diver Lane Ellis took the lone first place finish for the Raider men in the three-meter diving event with a score of 280.48, a mere 3.3 points from second place. On the women’s side, junior Amy Cole took first in the women’s 1,000-yard freestyle event with a time of 10:57.87, out-touching her closest competitor by three seconds. First-year Kacy Reams then won the 100-yard breaststroke and sophomore Jenn Pflug was Colgate’s final winner in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:31.74.Despite what the scoreboard said throughout the meet, the focus stayed on the races. The Black Knights were racking up the points, but Colgate’s squad ignored their momentum and placed its efforts elsewhere.”We couldn’t allow ourselves to be distracted by how those around us were swimming, how others were approaching their race or who we might’ve be facing,” Gentithes said. “It’s most important that we continue to mature as a team and focus on what we individually need to do to race fast.”The women’s team has struggled with the loss of three of last year’s top swimmers: junior Chrissy Zaika, who is overcoming injury, senior Meghan Binder and Alice Garnett ’04. Zaika is the current holder of three all-time team records, including the 50m and 100m freestyle, as well as the 100m butterfly. Garnett helped set the 200m and 400m medley relay records along with Zaika and Binder, all three of whom were selected to the all-Patriot League first team last year. So far, the team has adjusted accordingly to the absences and has begun to overcome the losses of their team members.It’s still early in the season – the Raiders have only had three meets thus far. With great competition and some phenomenal races in their last two meets against Boston College and Army, the individual results have been encouraging.”Although we lost the meet, there were a lot of strong efforts and a few personal records,” junior Marc Falkner said. “Considering how early it is in the season, this is quite an impressive accomplishment. We’ve got a lot more races to swim.”The Raiders return to action this weekend when they travel to Lehigh to face off against the Mountain Hawks and Navy. In the meantime, team members are still consistently adjusting, refining and progressing their techniques for future races. For the Raiders, the name of the game is focus. “Success will come with the maturity to know that our best races come when we are entirely focused on what we have to do to swim our best,” Gentithes