By Pat Mariboe
The men and women’s swim teams both competed in their second meet of the season at Gettysburg College on Saturday in a Centennial Conference matchup. The team, coached by Kim Lessard in her 26th year with the program, wants to improve on last season’s 8-1 finish for the Shoremen and a 5-6 finish for the Shorewomen. Both teams, who lost to Gettysburg last season, were out for revenge when they traveled to Gettysburg in the CC meet on Nov. 7. The Bullets handed the Shoremen their only loss last season.
Freshman Julia Portman stood out for the Shorewomen in the meet, when her times in the 200- and 500-meter freestyles broke school records. Portman also joined sophomores Katie Gorman, Mackenzie Gaze, and Jenni Clune in the 400-meter freestyle relay, in which they won first place. Positive individual results by junior Ellen Maxwell and Gorman were not enough to defeat the Bullets, though. The Bullets took a decisive 181-81 victory over Washington College, dropping the Shorewomen to 0-2 overall this season.
Sophomore Allie Grillo looks for improvement in the next few weeks after a slow start to the season.
“We are putting these losses behind us and not dwelling,” she said. “I think it’s always hard opening the season against some of fastest women in the conference. With these meets, there is always room for improvement. Although we lost the last two meets, we lost by less points than last year. Our team is getting stronger, and we have been training hard inside and outside the pool. Our women’s team is stronger, and I know that we are going to be finishing higher in the conference than last year. With swimming, every little mistake hurts. You have to make those turns perfect and make your technique flawless. Working on these early in the season just gives you an advantage. These losses are just firing us up for our next two meets against Salisbury and St. Mary’s.”
On the men’s side, the Shoremen were looking to win their first meet against Gettysburg since 2006. The Shoremen looked to carry on their momentum from last season when they met up on Saturday. WC showed that same drive and determination as it did last season and ended up winning nine out of 14 events with two standout first place finishes by senior Lucas Morgan and junior Pat Elliot. Morgan, senior Charles Logan, sophomore Kevin Mackenzie, and senior Brent Longenecker added to the Showmen’s victorious day when they finished first in the 200-meter medley relay. Junior Brent Hochstein and freshman Seth Wrigley also contributed to the Shoremen, who ended up winning the meet 153-108, improving to 2-0 on the season.
Freshman Tyler Cummings talked about his enthusiasm for the good start and his motivation to keep competing at the same level for the rest of the season.
“What we have right now is momentum,” said Cummings. “People like to win, it gets them hyped up, and it can do a lot to contribute to future wins. Keeping the team inspired right now is key. Remaining positive and close-knit with the others on the team is the best that can be done right now. Winning the first two meets really settled down my nerves, and beating Gettysburg, the defending Conference Champ, shows that the team is here to win.”
When it comes to individual and team goals for the rest of the season, both Grillo and Cummings share the same kind of optimism which should hopefully lead their respective teams down the winning track in the future.
“My goals are to qualify for NCAAs and break some records,” he said. “The team’s goals are to become Conference Champs and have a 10-0 record.”
“Every year as we gain a freshman and the seniors graduate, the team changes,” said Grillo. “With the addition of the freshman class, our team gained some fast ladies. I think our main goal this year is to place higher at champs than last year. I know these ladies, and I really want to beat more teams than last year. If we keep training and lifting as hard as we are now, I have no doubt that we will meet our goal. My individual goal is to have a better season than last year. I came in my freshman year recovering from a two year back injury. I want to make it through this session without any pain. I would also like to score points in all my events at the championship meet. I would love to place even higher than last year.”