You’ve seen them walking around campus… the ones with ice packs strapped to them, sopping wet hair and an overall appearance of fatigue. However, they are also the ones who sit in the far side of the Commons and can sometimes be obnoxiously loud.
Yes, the Southwestern swim team has grown, nearly doubling the size of last year’s team. With 8 men and fourteen women, the Pirate swimmers are eager to being their season.
On Friday, October 12, the women’s team opened their season with an evening meet against The University of Houston’s Division I team. The men were able to post some times as well, some posting lifetime bests.
Losing the meet 116-85, the women’s team is not discouraged and is ready for more competition further into the season. The first-year women’s squad of Samatha Kessler, Katie Coleman, Kassie Krusley, Bailey Thompson and Michelle Comerota seemed to have added much depth to the women’s side.
“I love how we are a great cohesive group…not just swimmers, but also friends. When we can swim together twice a day and still want to hang out on weekends, that’s a pretty good sign. I love the different personalities everyone brings to the team, and how humor is always incorporated into practices and competition. I still keep in touch with the swimmers who were seniors when I was a freshman, and I’d like to graduate knowing that I will keep in touch with this year’s awesome freshmen, too,” Senior Katie Stancil said.
The winning 200-yard medley composed of returning junior members Alana Bergfield and Jessie Carrer and first-year swimmers Bailey Thompson and Samantha Kessler clocked a time that almost broke last year’s varsity record set by sophomore Lorena Saenz, Bergfield, senior captain Allie Stevenson and Carrier.
Last year’s medley relay team was presented with a certificate at the opening of the meet for last year’s third place finish at conference. Carrier, who achieved an NCAA qualifying B-cut at last season’s conference meet, the first in Southwestern swimming history, was also presented with a certificate of achievement by Head Athletic Director Glada Munt.
Bergfield, who made her own Southwestern Swimming history at conference, was also awarded. Bergfield finished as a double conference champion in both 100 and 200 yard-breastroke, achieving NCAA B-cuts in both events.
“It’s been a really neat year for me so far on the swim team. It’s weird being a senior and seeing the team come full circle. I think the freshmen we have are going to be great and add so much to our team. It will also be nice to have a men’s relay team this year. I really think that these freshman combined with the returning swimmers is going to
produce the fastest swim team in Southwestern history,” Senior captain Allie Stevenson said.
The women’s team had three first place finishes, the 200 medley relay team and Bergfield, who won both 200 yard freestyle and 100 yard breastroke.
“It was a great return for racing for our team. I was really excited by the way we came out and weren’t intimidated. Our women got into the meet and really raced well. We’re going into a big training block now, so we’ll see where we are in a few weeks when we start racing again,” Head Coach Steve Brandt said.
So far, the swim team has had a pretty eventful season since official practices started September 17.
“I think my favorite two parts of the season so far were when Michele, Jon and Allie’s team gave an awesome effort in their ‘get out swims’ for the whole team so that we could get out of our last kick set and play kickball,” sophomore Anya Lopez-Fuentes said. “The second was us being able to get out of doing a 600 for warm-up and running down to the soccer field in our suits to do a cheer for the girls’ game against Rhodes.”
The swim team has a busy schedule this season and will be competing against various conference teams in Dallas, Sherman, San Antonio and Savannah, Georgia. The team will also be traveling to California for winter training where they will compete against Champan University at the University of Redlands. The next meet will be Saturday, November 3 in San Antonio against the University of Incarnate Word.
“Practices are getting more intense as the season heads into full swing, but because of the amount of fun we have during practice, we work through the pain together by laughing a lot. We have so many people on our team with positive energy that are there to support one another, even during those extremely painful work-outs. We feel the pain as one,” Bergfield said.