The Seton Hall women’s swimming team got off to a quick start in the 2018-19 season, recording wins over Rider University and Montclair State University. However, the team left the trip to Montclair with much more than just a win, with the Pirates setting three pool records.
A dominating race by the 200-medley relay team set the tone for the day with a record time of 1:49.88. Shortly after, Heidi Dickson kept it going by winning the 100-fly, 200-IM and taking part in setting the record in the 400-free relay. To wrap it up, Sara Ouellette made history of her own with a 1:56.62 time in the 200-free to set a pool record.
Despite not competing in the 200-free in the team’s first meet, Ouellette showed her dominance in her season debut. That is not the only surprise involved in her record-setting win, though, as she was also battling sickness throughout the week.
“I was definitely sore, (coach) just put me in it to see how I felt, but I ended up feeling really good,” Ouellette said.
It was evident her instinct was correct as she got off to one of the best races of her Seton Hall career. Her time was a career high in the 200-free, breaking her previous best of 1:57.56 against Providence.
“I was actually pumped that I did so well,” Ouellette said. “I had a good feeling when I went in the water, but I had no idea I was going that fast.”
Although Ouellette battled issues, head coach Derek Sapp was impressed with her weekend.
“All things considered, pretty solid,” Sapp said. “It’s just building that base back up. It shows she can step up and race in any situation.”
Ouellette had previous success in the 200-free event, with a win against Rider last year and another win against Montclair in her freshman season. However, her biggest finishes have come in various races, including the 200-backstroke where she finished sixth in the Big East Championship in her freshman year. Her ability to compete at a high level in different races makes her a key piece to the Pirates.
The fast start for Ouellette is only the start in a long season where the Pirates will rely on her heavily. Sapp described her as one of the most consistent performers, and one he can always count on.
Ouellette is aware of what is to come this year, and holds some individual goals as a part of that
“I’d love to bring down my records again,” Oullette said.
Although having big plans for herself this season, when it comes to the team, the goal is simple – beat Georgetown. The Hoyas are the back-to-back regular season champions in the Big East and hold that position up top where the Pirates would like to set their sights.
Seton Hall does not see Georgetown until Feb. 2 in its final meet before the Big East Championship, but it is evident that it is still on the mind of Ouellette and the rest of the program.
Keith Egan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Keith_egan10.