Oct. 7 marks the beginning of the new swimming and diving season for both the men’s and women’s teams. Last year saw much success for both programs, especially for the men, who went 8-3 and had the Big East Swimmer of the Year in Noah Yanchulis.
This season begins with meets against Saint Peter’s and Montclair State at 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7. Head coach Ron Farina spoke about his outlook for the program this season.
“Having 10 freshmen when you have 22 girls on the team, that’s 40 percent of the team and they’re all very talented coming in,” Farina said. “That’s very exciting on the women’s end.”
As for the men’s team, Farina said, “We essentially graduated one male and brought in eight guys that are really going to help us make a move in the Big East. I think the men’s team is positioned to compete for a Big East Championship.”
On the women’s side, junior Sydney Simpson looks to build a successful sophomore season, accumulating three first-place finishes and being named an All-Big East honoree.
“She had probably one of the most impressive days of swimming when she broke two school records back to back within 25 minutes of each other,” Farina said of Simmons. “And then half an hour later came back and won the 100m breaststroke. Those are very high standards that she’s holding herself to and we expect her to try and improve upon that.”
Senior Cece Henry is also excited to see what her team can do this year.
“My outlook on my team this year is really positive,” Henry said. “I think we’ve really grown and I’m really proud of the freshman class and how they’ve brought in new talent to this team.”
The men’s team is full of talent, having lost only one diver from last season’s team. They return the Big East Swimmer of the Year in Yanchulis and are looking to see more from Big East Freshman of the Year, Lior Grubert. Farina stressed the importance of those two leading the charge for his squad this season.
“How those two guys swim is really going to dictate how the men’s team does,” Farina said.
One thing the team wants to focus on this year is taking it meet by meet and never to look too far down the road. This is a point junior captain Cody Wimmer wants to make sure is drilled into the heads of his teammates.
“Most of the time, all people want to think about is Big East, but this year we’re really trying to take every day as one step at a time,” Wimmer said. “We’re really just trying to build as a team and be stronger… so that when we do get to our races we have a strong performance.”
With the season here, both the men’s and women’s teams seem ready to go. So much so, Farina can sense it.
“I think that the whole mentality of both teams coming into this year is excitement,” Farina said.
Matt Ambrose can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @mambrose97.