It is said that the true measure of a champion is not how he handles victory, but how he handles defeat. Raider head swimming coach Steve Jungbluth believes that his swimmers are champions.
The Colgate swimming and diving teams have yet to win a single meet; their most recent losses to Lehigh and Navy over the weekend brought the men and women’s team records to 0-5 for the season thus far. Jungbluth, however, is not discouraged. His confidence in the team has not ceased – and neither has his faith.
“I know that there are brighter times ahead for this program,” he said with conviction. “I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I am not going to become discouraged simply because my team was knocked down a few times in a row. This team understands that as well and they will continue to pick each other up each time we get knocked down. That’s the sign of the ultimate champion.”
In the Lehigh meet, the Raider team continued to dominate the diving competitions. Senior Lane Ellis once again won both men’s diving events, defeating his closest opponent in the one-meter dive by 45 points. The veteran diver also placed first in the three-meter dive with a score of 267.25, which came up short of his score of 297.95 in the one-meter event.
On the women’s side, junior Emily McAuliff imitated Ellis with a win of her own in the three-meter dive with a score of 254.45. First-year Kacy Reams doubled up in victories with two top finishes in the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke, touching in at 1:08:75 and 2:29:06, respectively. Reams has consistently won the 100-yard breaststroke this season for Colgate, with first place finishes in meets against both Boston College and Army.
Despite these individual performances, the Raiders finished up on the wrong side of the score, with the men losing by a score of 189-102 and the women by a smaller margin, 172-126.
For the team, patience is its greatest virtue at this point in the season. Practices have suggested encouraging and consistent improvement, yet these efforts have not shown in meet results. This, to say the least, has been the most frustrating part of the season thus far for the persevering athletes.
“Starting our season winless is difficult to accept mentally,” senior captain Mike Gentithes said. “I certainly feel like this team has earned better with the work we are doing during the week. Keeping a positive mental attitude through the sort of intense training that swimmers go through in a season is always a challenge, and this season is no different. Getting through that challenge is part of what makes the successful meets at the end of the season so rewarding.”
As coach, Jungbluth knows his team well. In guiding the squads through obstacles and disappointments, he recognizes the strength of the team manifesting itself in spirit and team chemistry.
“Our strength is our cohesiveness, our camaraderie,” he said, adding that he sees it in every meet and every race. “We don’t have any weaknesses in our program […] but we have details that need improvement.”Gentithes, like the rest of the team, is waiting for the payoff.
“We are pacing our swims well and improving our approach to the races better and better,” he said. “With the work we’ve been doing in practice, I really think that this will begin to show in the meets as the season continues.”
The team must face many more teams in eight meets before the Patriot League Championships, including two invitational events. Last year at the year-end League Championships, the women’s team finished with an impressive second place, while the men’s squad snatched sixth. Jungbluth was named the Patriot League Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year last season, and he is leading the squad with no less determination this year. When asked about the amount of yardage done in practices in recent weeks, the undaunted coach was quick to respond. “The perfect amount for us to swim [is if the team swims] lifetime-best performances at the Championship meet,” he said.