Seton Hall swimming looking for continued success
After a successful season in 2013, the Seton Hall swimming and diving program will look to continue building and put forth a strong 2014 campaign.
But before that, the team will host its annual Blue and White Alumni Meet on Saturday.
Head coach Ron Farina, who stands at the helm of both the men’s and women’s programs, is ready to kick off the season with the 13-event competition that will give him and his assistants a chance to get a good look at both teams.
“Our kids are going to get an opportunity, after about five or six weeks of training, to step up and race and compete against their teammates,” Farina said. “We don’t do a Blue vs. White scrimmage, or anything like that. It’s mainly for myself and my staff to get a feel for where the kids are time wise as we approach the season.”
Farina noted that somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 to 30 alumni come back to participate in relay events and to compete against the current Pirates.
“It’s a nice weekend for everybody,” the coach said. “The kids get a chance to get up and race, we get a chance to see some familiar faces and some old faces, and just kind of enjoy the day.”
The Pirates will host Montclair State in the season opener next Saturday, Oct. 8. Last season, the men’s and women’s teams defeated MSU in both the swimming and diving competitions on opening night, victories that help set the tone for quality seasons.
“It’s a long season,” Farina said. “We go from September to March—that’s one of longest seasons in college sports, when you think about it. So competitive, too. It’s more of a marathon than a sprint.”
Farina pointed to three key meets—the Rutgers Tri-Meet with Villanova and Georgetown, the Winter Training Trip with Iona, Marist and UConn, and then the Big East tournament—that will serve as benchmarks throughout the year.
“By and large, we try and get up and race at every meet,” Farina said. “Our ultimate goal is to win the Big East championship at the end of the season.”
Despite having just seven combined seniors—four on the men’s team, three on the women’s—the young Pirates, with two of the largest freshmen and sophomore classes in program history, will have to become a closely knit group.
“It’s a total team effort,” Farina said. “We have a lot of motivated individuals…from the seniors who want to beat the Notre Dames and Lousivilles, to the freshmen who see an opportunity to come in and win a Big East championship. Everyone is working together towards a common goal.”
Farina has the Rutgers Tri-Meet circled on his calendar as the biggest of the year.
“It’ll be a good indicator for us to see where we are,” Farina said. “Hopefully if we swim well, we don’t get too high. And if we’re a little bit off, we don’t get too low. But it’ll be a good temperature gauge to see where we are—how are training and our preparation stack up against some conference rivals.”
Thomas Duffy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @TJDhoops.