Swim teams cap historic season

The GW men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams wrapped up one the most successful seasons in GW history by breaking five conference records and 13 school records – and had numerous other personal accomplishments at the Atlantic 10 Championships Feb. 19-21.

The men’s team won 10 of 16 events and finished a close second to A-10 Champion Massachusetts at the meet in Buffalo, N.Y.

Sophomore Tim Champney set an A-10 record in the 100-yard backstroke. Juan Bocanegra set a conference mark in the 200-yard individual medley, and Rush Taylor broke a conference record in the 100-yard breaststroke. Taylor, Champney, Bocanegra and Dave Simonetti were all first team All-Conference selections.

In addition, Bocanegra, Champney, Taylor and Simonetti broke an A-10 record in the 400-yard medley relay, and Champney, Taylor, Simonetti and walk-on Jason Serino set a conference mark in the 200-yard medley relay.

“We did very well on both sides, but we set high expectations,” head coach Marc Hagen said. “Although we did very well, we can do better. Next year we can try to take it to the next level and get five or six guys into the NCAA (Championships).”

Bocanegra was named A-10 Male Swimmer of the Year, and Hagen was awarded Coach of the Year.

In addition, Champney, Taylor, Bocanegra and Mike Cottone had fast enough swims to be considered for the NCAA Championships. Although Hagen said it was unlikely they would be selected, making the consideration cut requires one of the top 35-40 fastest swims in the nation.

“You could tell we were going to swim well at the A-10s, because everybody was looking good in the water,” Champney said. “I could see that (Bocanegra) would do well. He has put in a lot of work in the water and in the weight room.”

The women’s team finished third at the championships and broke a school record in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Robin Bolstad, Connie Shelton, Brandyn Roark and Kristen Janeczek’s time of 1:37.41 broke the old record of 1:38.33.

Even with this season’s success, Champney said expectations for next year will be no higher than this season.

“That puts too much pressure on the team and people would focus on winning and not swimming fast,” he said. “We’ll train hard over the summer, come in, have fun and do our best.”

The team is losing only two seniors on the men’s team and five on the women’s side. “We look very strong for next year,” Hagen said.

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