Chief Copy Editor
The Goucher Men’s and Women’s Swim Teams have been working hard for the past month and a half in and out of the pool to get ready for a new season. The team underwent many changes at the end of last year after saying goodbye to four seniors and a graduate assistant (GA). However, with a strong incoming class and a new GA, the team is looking to make waves in the Landmark Conference.
Both teams gained many new additions this year. Freshmen Lizzy Hannifin and Becca Kotula will help strengthen the women’s team and Andrew Coon, Grant Gerber, Ben Shriner, and Joey Hughes join the men’s team this year. Additionally, every two years, a new graduate assistant is hired as an assistant coach for many teams on campus. Head Coach Tom Till said that “every time we change our GA, the transition can be tough. There is a learning curve for them and the team in understanding expectations and feeling each other out.” Till added that the new GA, Kelly Heyde, has done a great job thus far and he can’t wait to see how she grows over the next two years. According to women’s co-captain Patrice D’Orazio ‘14, Heyde has set the bar high, pushing the teams in the pool and in the weight room. She is very supportive and is “bringing new and exciting things to the team.” D’Orazio believes that Heyde will contribute to the success of the team this season.
The men’s team is expected to do well this year with many strong individual swimmers that, when put together, have the potential to be something great. Coach Till said the men’s team is hoping to see multiple conference champions at the championship meet in February and qualify both individual swimmers and relay teams for NCAA championships. In order to do this, many of Goucher’s records would need to be broken, which is always a goal for both teams. The men are off to a strong start in this goal, as Morgan Richter ‘16, broke the record for the 1000-yard freestyle in last week’s meet against St. Mary’s College of Maryland by almost 12 seconds. Matthew Brower previously held the record that was set in 2011. Till said that the strength on the team is very young, and the addition of a strong freshman class will add the depth that they need for the program.
On the women’s side, the team is looking to improve their record in both the dual meet and conference championship seasons. Two seniors that scored points for the relays graduated last year, so this is a rebuilding year for the Lady Gophers. D’Orazio commented on how much potential the team has to be something great. Everyone has been training hard and co-captain Cat Gepner added that while the training is different from years past, she can’t wait to see what the team can do. It is still early in the season for the Gophers, and both D’Orazio and Gepner noted that there is time to “work the kinks out” to get to where they want to be.
While the numbers aren’t exactly where Till would like them to be, the intensity is there. Every swimmer is “eager for their swims and excited for the season to begin,” which is important to reach the end goals. Till also added that the role models on the team continue to impress him with their ability to manage not only athletics and academics, but other extracurricular activities too. Being a student-athlete is a full time job, and finding time to help others is what makes Goucher students great.
In closing, D’Orazio said of the team: “If we dream big, we can do big- and I know the team will rise to that challenge this year.”