Freshman swimmers pushed right into deep end
The Seton Hall swimming and diving team welcomed 18 new faces to the program this season in hopes of contending for the Big East Championship title.
“Moving forward, they (freshmen) are going to become the anchors of the team with such a large class,” head coach Ron Farina said. “They will have a lot of influence and depending on how well they do, it will carry over into next year and years to come.”
The women’s squad will see seven freshmen this season com- pared to the men’s 11 newcomers.
The women’s team is coming off an exceptional season in which it won its first seven dual meets, broke over 10 school records and had its best finish in the Big East Championship in nearly two decades.
Melody Bush compliments sophomore Cora Meehan in the backstroke competition and is off to a solid start. Bush recorded two individual victories in both meets this season.
“Melody has the potential to win a Big East Championship as a freshman,” Farina said.
Cece Henry also had three AQ times in her debut against Montclair State University and has two victories in the 200-individual medley. Other freshmen that have recorded victories this season include Maddie Harris (200-breast), Erica Naumann (1,000-IM), Kelsey Buonaiuto (100-back) and Tessa Lindner (100-fly) while Annie Bucca adds depth to the freestyle and breaststroke events.
“It’s giving us that quality depth that we haven’t had in the past,” Farina said about the large freshmen class.
For the men’s team, Keith Carlino is off to a hot start recording back-to-back individual victories in the 50-free and 100-back in his first two meets. Xavier Jimenez dominated the 100-back for Seton Hall finishing in first place, ahead of senior teammates Matt Benson and Evan Forbes.
Jack Poupure and Colin Machat have contributed in the team events, helping grab first place in the 200-medley and 400-free relay. TJ Merighi, among other swimmers, earned himself a chance to swim at the conference championships by qualifying in the 50-free. Ian Campbell and Matt Labombard are still awaiting their chance to make an impact on the team, along with injured diver Alex Pfisterer.
“We have a lot of options and that’s a major positive,” Farina said. “But one of the challenges is finding a spot for everybody.”
First-year assistant coach Derek Sapp looks to connect with the newcomers and help them along.
“They’re still trying to figure out how I operate and I’m doing the same thing with them,” Sapp said. “Everyone’s different and everyone has their own personality so I’m just trying to figure out what they respond to.”
New swimmers, new coach and a new conference should pose for an exciting season at Seton Hall. The Pirates will travel to Loyola, Md. for a Quad Meet with Drexel, Lafayette and Loyola on Saturday, Oct. 26.
Mike Romano can be reached at email@example.com.