Swimming squads try to get off to strong start

Former GW swimmer Phillip Graeter charges down the pool. | Hatchet File Photo
Former GW swimmer Phillip Graeter charges down the pool. | Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Scott Nover.

With a long 26-week season ahead, the men’s and women’s swimming teams anticipate plenty of opportunities to continue their recent trend of incremental improvement.

The teams will face their first test Saturday when they compete in a dual meet against Bucknell at the Smith Center.

Boasting a drastically different lineup with seven new swimmers, the men’s team may face an abrupt transition season. But the women’s team will maintain roster consistency, potentially providing stability in the program.

With eight seniors graduating from the men’s team last year, head coach Dan Rhinehart has had the arduous task of finding swimmers to replace the departed veterans. To try to fill the gap, Rhinehart added seven new members to the squad, picking up six freshmen and a junior transfer student.

The women’s team has had an easier time transitioning this year, filling its two open spots with two NISCA All-American swimmers – freshmen Lauren Law and Carly Whitmer.

Last weekend at a meet in American, the men’s team, led by its transfer junior Goran Koprivnjak, tallied eight total first-place finishes throughout last weekend at American, as well as eight second-place finishes.

Koprivnjak took home first in the 400-yard individual medley, the 100-yard butterfly with a meet record of 51.38, and then finally in the 200 butterfly with another meet record of 1:54.62.

Junior Garrett Cottingham came through for the Colonials in both the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke, finishing first in both events with times of 59.71 and 2:11.45, respectively.

The women proved just as successful in the four-squad meet, racking up nine first-place finishes and eight second-place finishes.

Senior Caroline Myers, freshman Carly Whitmer and junior Janica Lee led the way for GW, totaling four new meet records.

Whitmer got her two wins, and records, in the 100 and 200-yard butterfly with times of 57.53 and 2:09.03, respectively. Lee kept the momentum going for the Colonials, earning a first-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:07.55. Myers concluded the meet on a high-note, taking top honors in the 1,650-yard free with a time of 17:16.68.

Myers, a freestyle and individual medley specialist, said she and her teammates have “a good chance of winning” in their upcoming meets, especially as the season goes along and gets “more serious.”

With this season being her last in the program, Myers said she wants to see the team “work together and finish top four in the A-10.”

This meet was the second event of GW’s long season of competition, following the Potomac Relays a week before. Both teams took home third place finishes at their season opener.

Rhinehart, who heads both squads, had positive reviews of the Potomac performances, saying he was happy with most of the outcomes and pleased with the way “the freshman got their first taste of collegiate competition.”

“It was just a really fun way to get the season off to a great start – but at this stage – there is room for improvement – everywhere,” he added.

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