Andrew Anastasio – Sports Writer –
Amid off-season preparations, the members of the Owls women’s swim team are preparing themselves to repeat what they accomplished last season.
“I think that we can replicate what we did a year ago,” said senior Amanda Thomas. “As long as we stay focused and keep it together, we’ll be just fine.”
Last season, the Owls swept the competition on the Northeast-10 Conference Championships. There, they broke records in the 200 and 800 freestyle relay; 400 medley relay; 1 and 3 meter diving; and the 200 backstroke. Senior Amanda Thomas, who qualified to compete in the 2012 Olympic Trials, broke the 200 and 100 individual medley butterfly events.
Thomas said the team’s goal this upcoming season is keeping everyone together.
“We need to stay focused,” Thomas said. “It’s important for everyone to stay motivated, and hopefully we will win another Northeast-10 Championship.”
A notable achievement that surrounded the Owls last year was Thomas winning the Swimmer of the Year Award. Aside from her record-breaking performances in the NCAA Championship meet, she was also a finalist for the 2012 Division II Honda Award, which gets issued to the Female Athlete of the Year. She said she has to be better in her performance to achieve what she did a year ago.
“I need to top what I did last year,” Thomas said. “I have a lot of goals in mind and set for myself so I’m able to beat that.”
The 2012-13 season, marks Tim Quill’s 13th season as head coach for Southern. Since his arrival to the team, he’s accumulated 13 NE-10 Coach of the Year awards.
Quill is also a six-time Metropolitan Coach of the Year winner. Under Quill, the women have obtained 15 NE-10 Conference Championships and in the 2009 campaign, the women placed ninth in the NCAA Championships which was a program best.
Junior freestyle swimmer Chelsea Price said swimming for Coach Quill has been a privilege.
“It’s been a really good experience. Coach Quill is a really good coach,” Price said. “He knows what he is talking about, and when he talks about group goals, he points out what we specifically need to work on. If he sees something that is off, he’s always there to tell us how to fix it.”
The Owls graduated six seniors last year, including Amanda Burden who obtained the 1 and 3 meter NCAA diving records, and Meghan Fay and Nicole Huerta who were both members of the NCAA record-breaking 800 freestyle relay team.
Southern is also without Jessica Rickel who was a member of the 400 medley relay team and Emily Rapuano.
Despite the number of people they have lost to graduation, Thomas said she’s confident that this year’s team can be just as successful.
“It’s all about staying focused,” Thomas said. “We’ll be all right as long as the team stays together.”
The Owls will open their season on Oct. 5 when they square off against West Chester University and Shippensburg University in a 3-team competition.
Southern will look for redemption against West Chester who bested them last year.