Swim and Dive Teams Prepare to Close Out Unusual Season

The Colgate Raiders Swim and Dive team, like every other athletics program, has had to adapt to new challenges and setbacks because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, their season will not conclude with a Patriot League tournament. On April 7, the Patriot League announced that the Men and Women’s Swimming and Dive Championships that were supposed to be held at Bucknell University would be cancelled. Instead, various schools will host individual regular season meets and welcome other Patriot League schools. Colgate, for example, will host a meet competing against Holy Cross and Boston University on April 17-18. 

Difficulties began when the season was pushed back in the fall. The season was supposed to begin in late August and continue up until the end of February, but this year ‘s scheduling was less consistent. The season began in late September and has had interruptions and cancellations throughout the last six months and into this final stretch of the season. Head Coach Ed Pretre explained that stoppages are uniquely hard for swimmers; the sport is primarily about feel and muscular endurance which take time to develop. It is hard for his athletes to just pick up after a long time outside of a pool. 

Practices were also entirely different from previous years. Swimmers and divers were often forced to practice by themselves in the pool with only the coaching staff watching, as highlighted by Junior Justin Song. Song, who lives with other team members, was able to train with some other teammates, but highlighted how isolating the conditions were.

“Early in the season we were only allowed to practice alone or with our direct family units. Obviously swimming is an individual sport, but practices are so much more enjoyable when the entire team can be there together,” Song said. “The fall was way more difficult than the spring. All we had was an idea of what we could do in the spring. We had to push each other to practice everyday in the fall.”

Pretre acknowledged those challenges and said, “Coaching hasn’t really been about exes and ohs this year, it’s been coaching the mental game. [Despite] Being in quarantine, someone having COVID[-19], [the athletes] have done a wonderful job. The coaching staff has just tried to be understanding. If anyone’s not having an issue this year, they’re full of it.”

As for how the team has been feeling after the recent cancellation of the Swimming and Diving Championships, Pretre and Song both conceded that they were disappointed they would not be able to compete against every other team in the league.

“It is really disappointing. I know the coaches in the league were doing an outstanding job of making this whole thing happen. I wish everyone in the Patriot League took these things as seriously,” Pretre said.

Despite the challenges, both Pretre and Song were still excited and confident about the final meet of the season. 

“We were pretty optimistic the whole year, and at least now we’re going to have a regular season meet and some rest before,” Pretre said.

Pretre thanked the Colgate athletics department and administration for all their help and dedication this year, and is glad that the team has made it through this season after all they’ve been through. He added that the Swim and Dive team is still relatively young, and if the freshmen could make it through a season like this, they could work through almost anything. Even though there will not be a formal championship to close out the season, Colgate can be proud of the season they have endured and their final opportunity to compete to close out their season. This final meet against Holy Cross and Boston University will be on April 17-18 in Hamilton.