Despite a litany of injuries and illnesses, GW’s swim and dive teams believe they are ready to make an impact in the Atlantic 10.
With six swimmers out for the Colonials’ Saturday meet against Old Dominion, head coach Dan Rhinehart’s teams still had three first-place finishes and 14 second-place finishes. Senior David Zenk won two events, the 50- and 100-yard backstroke, as many swimmers doubled up on events to make up for missing teammates.
“It has a huge impact when we have this many kids out,” Rhinehart said. “We have a lot of swimmers doubling up on events and on the other side are the kids who could be contributing, but they can’t” due to injury or illness.
The shortage of swimmers is not only impacting the team at meets, but at practices as well.
“It’s been tough on practices, because that’s where we really come together,” Zenk said. “It really takes a toll on morale and on our chances later in the season because those swimmers aren’t able to practice.”
But it has also given some young swimmers a chance to step up.
“It’s been great to see that the freshmen can handle the additional pressure, and that they’ve transitioned so well,” sophomore Andrew Maguire said.
Freshman Davin Harding has made an immediate impact for the men, winning the 100-yard butterfly and placing second in the 500-yard freestyle against Old Dominion. On the women’s team, freshman Isabel Tawney had two second place finishes in the 50- and 100-yard backstroke.
Up next for the teams are a training session over winter break, when they will head down to Puerto Rico for a week to prepare for the second half of the season and the Atlantic 10 Championships, where they finished last a year ago.
The Colonials have three more meets before A-10s, the first of which is a four-school conference meet with UMass, Rhode Island and La Salle in mid-January. The event will serve as a barometer for the Colonials to find out where they stand among their peers.
“We want to make big strides in the Atlantic 10,” Zenk said. “I think that we’ve got a legitimate chance at finishing in the top five.”