Swim team looks to defend championship
Avery Martin – Contributor
As defending NE10 (Northeast) champions, the women’s swim and dive team is under a lot of pressure to perform this season.
Sports Management Major Anya Celmer, a senior, is one of three team captains. “I really just help to hype the girls up and keep everyone working together as a team,” Celmer said. Psychology Major Paola Castillo, a freshman, said the team “really is like a family here because we practice together so much. We all want to help each other get better.”
The main goal this season is to defend the NE10 title. Head coach Tim Quill said, “Defending the NE10 title is the ultimate goal for us but we also just want to make sure everyone stays healthy physically and mentally and does well in the classroom.”
Celmer and Castillo are confident they will be able to top the NE10 conference once again. “Last year we beat our rivals by a lot but I want everyone to not get too relaxed and still keep working hard like we are right now,” Celmer said.
With 24 women on the team, each member contributes uniquely to total points at meets. Castillo has big individual goals for this year. “Competing at the NE10s and getting some good results is definitely a goal. Then I want to go to the NCAA’s hopefully,” she said.
Celmer wants to improve on time while also enjoying her last year as an Owl. “I want to just work on dropping time and getting faster. But I also want to see everyone get better and the team get better as a whole,” she said.
While both Celmer and Castillo are swimmers, Quill says, “The divers play a huge role. It’s led by Nicholle Denault. She has made some great progress in her last couple of years here and we are looking forward to seeing what she can do this season.”
The team kicked off the 2022-23 season on October 1st against West Chester University and Shippensburg University. They lost to West Chester, but had a great win against Shippensburg.
On October 8th, the team placed 5th out of six teams at a meet at Fairfield University. On November 5th, they will compete at a D1 school, UCONN. They hope to earn good results there to prove they can compete with D1 schools.
However, the Owls have yet to face their main conference rivals. Celmer said, “Our main rivals are definitely Bentley and Assumption.” In February, the Owls head up to Worcester Massachusetts to compete against them at the NE10 Championships.
“Bentley’s always in the mix,” said Quill. “We wound up beating Bentley on the men’s side last year for the first time in three years. You can’t take any program for granted and we can’t control who they recruit. We can only control who we recruit and how we move forward.”
A large part of any college sports team’s success owes to recruiting the best athletes. Celmer agrees that this is crucial and says, “The coaches here really know how to recruit winners, really great swimmers.”
Quill says adapting to a new team every year can be tough, but ultimately helps the athletes improve. “The team dynamics, the makeup of the team, and the character of the team changes a little bit but what we work on always remains consistent. We’re talking about hard work, commitment, dedication, sacrifice and respect for others,
.” Quill said.
Quill mentions another key to success is having the correct mentality. He said, “The need to put themselves in the zone to compete at the highest level, at their best, in February.”
Overall, Quill and the other coaches look forward to watching the entire swim and dive team compete at their best and work on defending the NE10 title.