Men and women’s swimming and diving teams welcome in next generation of Owls
Matt Gad – Sports Writer
Last year, head coach Tim Quill and his men and women championship teams held banners up high. They will attempt that feat again this season.
During the 2017-18 campaign, the men’s side came home with conference championship number 13 while the women did the same thing, winning their dozenth title and their second in as many years.
“After graduating a really good senior class last year on the women’s side this is kind
of a rebuilding year for us,” Quill said. “We did bring in a good size women’s class, with seven newcomers in the water, so we will see how quickly they develop. That will be the determining factor.”
Nicole Cislo, Emily Darroch, Rebekah Lockery, Brooke Pope, Ellie Sherry, Ashley Sloan and Loren Wurst are all coming into their freshman years, filling some roster spots left by graduated seniors Aubrey Bailey, Katherine Crochet, Kerstin Eckner, Sydney Fromkin, and Lily Martin.
“We definitely have a lot of pride and excitement coming off last year,” senior women’s co-captain Meaghan Spagnolo said. “It was amazing to win on both the men’s and women’s sides. It’ll be interesting to see how the freshmen push themselves all the way through the year.”
Quill said the team is an underdog this year, but he is happy with what he has seen so far at practice.
“They seem to be gelling well as a program so we’re excited and casually optimistic,” Quill said.
On the men’s side, the expectations are high, and Quill said they can be “as good” as last year. Just three freshmen have joined the squad: Tyler Cusano, Zachary Fell and Robert Nagy, and they are without recent graduates Brandon Beaudoin, Lucas Fanucci and Tyler Vander Vos.
“It’s really rewarding to be the captain of such a hard-working program because all
the upperclassmen want the taste of victory,” men’s co-captain Tyler Castellone said. “I can’t wait to fight for that championship again.”
Despite being officially listed as two programs, both the mens and womens swimmers and divers operate under one unit, with the same coaching staff and schedule. “We work together, train together, travel
together and compete together,” Quill said. “Even though the NCAA treats swimming as men and women we treat it as one.”
Competing and always working together keeps the entire operation fluid. Spagnolo said the bond they all share is “truly like no other.”
“We spend every waking second together, whether we’re shivering in a freezing cold pool at 6 a.m, sweating it out in the weight room or pushing through a hard set,” she said. “We’re always there for each other. It’s so important for our team to have strong chemistry because, although most people think swimming is an individualized sport, it truly is not without your teammates.”
The regular-season will begin for everyone Saturday at the Fairfield Invite at 1 p.m. The team will have four home meets this year, along with their alumni meet during Nov. 3. They will make their competitive Hutchinson Natatorium debut Nov. 9 at 5 p.m. against Pace University.
Photo Credit: southernctowls.com