The Seton Hall men’s swimming team added to its rich recent history with a win over Xavier Friday, Oct. 14. The Musketeers had won the past three Big East Championships.
The Pirates don’t plan to stop there however, for they have their eyes set on a much bigger prize.
Seton Hall finished last year 8-3 overall with only one senior on the roster. With much of that team back for the 2016-2017 season, they added seven new freshmen, four of which placed first in their respective races against Xavier.
“I think it was good for the freshmen because that’s what we recruited them to come here to do,” head coach Ron Farina said. “Swimming in a meet like that builds character for the freshmen.”
Freshmen were brought to Seton Hall to make an impact, and that is just what they’re doing. Joshua Tosoni was named CollegeSwimming.com’s Big East Swimmer of the Week after placing first in the 100 and 200 m breaststroke against Montclair State and St. Peters Friday, Oct. 19. He then did the same against Xavier. His times ranked top-50 nationally for both events, according to CollegeSwimming.com.
Tyler Kauth is another freshman making an immediate impact, winning the 200m backstroke against Xavier. He was named the Big East Swimmer of the Week following the win.
“It was a very exciting meet. Probably one of the most exciting I’ve been a part of,” Kauth said.
The players and Farina spoke highly of one thing when asked about their success: team unity.
“The team atmosphere is awesome. Everyone’s hungry, everyone knows what this team can do. Day in and day out we’re racing at practice,” junior Vadim Jacobson said.
The Pirates have stressed working as a team. Although many look at swimming as an individual sport, Seton Hall swimming credits much of its success to being unselfish and winning for each other.
“I think for some of the freshmen that’s really why they’re swimming so well… they’re feeling that they’re part of a team as opposed to just a club team or just a high school team,” Farina said.
Kauth spoke of working as a team as well.
“It’s not really about winning individuals for me. It’s not about being the guy that brings home the most points, it’s about bringing home points that are going to get us a Big East Championship.”
The feeling is mutual for others in the program. The Big East Championship is the goal of this team and both the players and coach don’t shy away from talking about it. Jacobson, who transferred from George Mason, said the opportunity for a conference championship is one of the reasons he transferred to Seton Hall.
Farina expressed the importance of taking the season one “benchmark” at a time. The Rutgers Invitational and Patriot Invitational are two events coming up that will be important for Seton Hall before facing off against rivals such as Villanova and Georgetown.
“Right now, we’re right where we want to be, but we still want to work,” Farina said.
The swimmers know the importance of using the big Xavier win as a starting point, rather than a final destination early in the season.
“You have to act like you’ve just been there… because the last thing you want to do is get hyped up over a win and go to Big East and have them come back for you,” Kauth said. “It’s business as usual as it has been the past eight weeks.”
A young team with veteran leadership is a combination SHU hopes ends in a Big East title run this February. Until then, the Hall is taking it one meet at a time.
Keith Egan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Keith_egan10.