The men’s and women’s swim teams opened up their season Saturday in a dual meet at Loyola. Despite the men falling 176-112 and the women falling 219-73, solid performances confirmed what the Leopards already believed: this year’s team will be different from years past.
Juniors Sam Haines and Nick Whiteman each grabbed first place finishes in the 100 butterfly and 1000 free, respectively, for the men. Freshman Sariyah Sherry took first in both the 50 and 100 free events for the women.
“Last year the team was more oriented toward a couple really fast swimmers like Greg Grewal [’16],” said senior co-captain Russell Lambert.
Grewal competed in the Olympic trials this past June in Omaha, where he finished 66th with a time of 1:03.11 in the 100 meter breaststroke.
Some anticipate, however, that the holistic depth and speed of the team is what will bring it success this year. A strong sophomore class, including Kyle Doherty, Weston Lickfield and James Grieb, is expected to perform well, which will allow the team to have a steady core from which it will build off of during meets. Senior David Perlow’s consistent performance will also be a crucial way for the team to gain some points.
The team’s main key to success will be its endurance so the swimmers can perform consistently well throughout meets despite fatigue from earlier events.
The women are building off of a fast freshman class, led by Sariyah Sherry and Bryce Currie, that has brought a whole new level of competition to the team. Sophomores Julia Hall and Alexa Overeem, and junior Sydney Wight will continue to make a significant impact in the water.
According to the Patriot League preseason poll, the Leopards are expected to finish eighth out of 10 teams, something that doesn’t faze the team.
“Everyone is talking about practice more. Everyone’s more excited about getting better,” said women’s captain Sarah White ’17. “We’re off to a significantly better start than we were last year, especially at this first meet.”
The whole team is taking head coach Jim Dailey’s quote, “the clock doesn’t lie,” to heart and creating an atmosphere that may breed success from the increased work rate.
On Nov. 5, the Leopards will swim at Patriot League favorite Navy, who has swept the league championships in each of the last five years, with the men’s team on a 14-year win streak. Bucknell and American will also be competing in this conference meet.