Heading into the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams’ final home meet of the season, the seniors were not to be ignored.
Standing above everyone else on the starting blocks before the meet began, seniors Drew Boudreau and Mark DeSimone led chants that echoed around the basement of Smith Center. A few minutes later, some of their younger teammates took victories in both the men’s and women’s 200-yard medley relays. And though the Colonials came up short at the end of the day, losing 125-113 on the women’s side and 155-86 for the men, the squads were not disappointed.
Coach Dan Rhinehart said he thought both teams showed a lot of heart and competed until the finish, highlighting how the seniors, despite often being at the bottom of the results, were sure to make the most of their final Smith Center appearance.
“The whole meet had a good atmosphere,” senior Danny Johnson said.
“We had phenomenal support,” Boudreau added.
But the positives were not all outside the pool. The Colonials had 10 first-place finishes, led by junior David Zenk and freshman Leor Paola, who each tallied two individual wins.
It will now be up to Zenk and classmate Tom Pullen to lead the men’s squad next season while juniors Ariana Berdini, Lauren Fuchs, Luciana Maggiolo, Jessica Mega and Lauren Myers will replace the departing Molly Moss and Andrea Martin.
“Year to year, each class brings and takes something different,” Rhinehart said. “I know the junior class will step right up into its role.”
The rest of the squad is filled out by underclassmen, whom DeSimone said he hopes will all continue to compete on the teams until they are in his situation a few years down the line.
“I’d like to see the freshmen make it all the way to (senior day) so they can experience what we have,” DeSimone said. “It’s something to be proud of.”
The seniors also focused on the emotions brought up by their last home competition.
“It’s relief mixed with satisfaction,” Boudreau said.
“Number one, I’ll miss my teammates,” Martin said.
The Colonials have one more dual meet, at George Mason Feb. 2, before heading to Buffalo, N.Y., for Atlantic 10 Championships Feb. 20-23. Rhinehart said the teams plan to fine-tune techniques and enter into their Championship preparation, which includes a more relaxed style of practicing and conditioning, during this next month in order to be physically ready for the final meet of the season.
For Johnson, the event means just a little bit more this time around, while Martin feels like the end has come too soon.
“Being seniors, we’d really like to go out well,” Johnson said.
“The whole season has gone by really fast,” Martin added. “It seems like summer was just yesterday.”