Fast start from newcomers boosts outlook for women’s swimming season

The Seton Hall swimming and diving team currently sits at 4-1, with its only loss this season to in-state rival Rutgers.

One catalyst to the fortuitous start is the amazing performances of its freshmen, who have helped the team win many races.

Two freshmen, Madeline Bachand and Sierra Cripps, have a combined 13 top-three finishes thus far. At the Rutgers Pre-Season Tune-Up, the former finished second in the 500-yard Freestyle with a time 5:07:64 and runner-up in the 1650-yard Freestyle while the latter placed third in the 100-yard Fly in 58 seconds and runner-up in the 200-yard Fly.

Photo via SHU Athletics

In the Pirates’ most recent swim meet, Bachand spoke on the Pirates Sports Network about the nerves of the first race in front of a home crowd.

“There’s a little bit, but I really love my team and they’re supporting me,” Blachand said. “I’m used to swimming that distance, I do it a lot so it’s not that bad.”

The Raleigh, N.C. native did win her race, the 1,000-yard Freestyle, outpacing the next closest swimmer by more than 33 seconds with a time of 10:35.78.

Bachand also won the 200-yard Freestyle and was the only swimmer who finished the race in under two minutes. She rounded out the day with another impressive finish, swimming to second place in the 500-yard Freestyle.

Sierra Cripps, who primarily swims in the butterfly, finished first in both the 100 and 200-yarders. Cripps also swam the butterfly leg of the 200-yard Medley Relay and helped the group win that event.

Cripps, who is from Seymour, C.T., notes the difference between swimming in a small town versus the pressure of swimming at the Division I level. Albeit a two-sport captain in high school, Cripps feels the college preparation is far more rigorous than a year ago.

“We’ll have practice sometimes before meets and lift,” Cripps said. “Sometimes we’re so tired by the time the meet rolls around at the end of the meet that we have to be really smart when it comes to how we’re racing. I definitely haven’t lifted before a race before, so I’ve been so sore, as well as a lot of the freshmen who have lifted.”

The one improvement Cripps thinks she needs to make to continue to be an effective swimmer is to race smarter. Cripps says Derek Sapp, head swimming and diving coach, emphasizes thinking about the nerves and not taking off to fast at the beginning of the race.

The contributions from the freshman can help strengthen a roster filled with veterans and give them a chance to finish higher in the Big East.

Up next for the two freshmen and the rest of the women’s swimming and diving team is there second home meet of the season, taking on Drexel University. The first event is scheduled for Oct. 26 at 1 p.m.

Evando Thompson can be reached at evando.thompson@student.shu.edu. Find him on Twitter @ethmps.

Author: Evando Thompson

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