As the Seton Hall men’s swimming and diving team fought its way back to an even record with a home win over Towson, Joe Gibson saw his name appear in the first place slot three times in his most dominant performance of the year.
Gibson is easily acclimating himself within the swim team roster after transferring from the University of Illinois at Chicago. The transition has been seamless, as head coach Derek Sapp has used Gibson in a plethora of ways this season. Gibson gives a lot credit to the motivation he receives from the team that has helped him swim effectively earn on.
“Training only goes so far,” Gibson said. “People like Ivan Michalovic and Ben LaClair really have push me to a position to where I would take the next step, and everyone else in my group as well. Caleb [Smith] and Lior [Grubert], just all the guys and the coaching staff.”
In his freshman season, Gibson only captured one first place finish, as he had the top time in a 500-yard freestyle at 4:46.11. At almost six seconds faster, Gibson finished first in the same event in the Nov. 3 meet versus Towson at 4:40.19. Gibson even had a faster time than that this season with a 4:40.11, good enough for one of the fastest times in the Big East Conference this season.
Gibson has been one of the more versatile swimmers for Seton Hall this season, winning events ranging from the 200-yard to the 1000-yard. In the second meet of the season against Montclair State, Gibson set a pool record in the 1000-yard freestyle at 9:46.78. At the Towson meet, the other two events that Gibson won were the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:42.29 and the 400-yard IM with a time of 4:08.14.
“Every race has its specific things that you have to practice,” Gibson said. “With the 200-yard freestyle being a long sprint and the 500-yarder being a race where you manage your stamina, I try to focus on every part of my game in practice. I feel myself improving as an all-around swimmer by continuing to race in these different events.”
Aside from his solo events, Gibson also swam in the 400-yard freestyle relay as the leadoff leg. At the time, the relay team’s runner-up finish was the second fastest time in the Big East, clocking in at 3:08.35.
Gibson has already earned one Big East Swimmer of the Week award and a Big East Athlete of Week honor. Gibson won three meets at Rider, one versus Montclair State, one at a tri-meet with West Virginia and Xavier and runner-up and third place finishes at Drexel among the several accomplishments to his name this season.
With many other meets remaining in the season, Gibson can mold himself into a key contributor on already strong Big East title contender. After being one of the catalysts for the swim team’s comeback win on Alumni Day against Towson, Gibson will look to continue his strong form in the pool at the upcoming Fairfax Invitational at George Mason University.
“The goal for me is to win an individual Big East trophy,” Gibson said. “I just want to motivate my teammates to be better every day, the important thing is that we all improve as a team.”
Evando Thompson can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Thompsev.