Racing in their home opener against Bucknell on Saturday, the men’s and women’s swimming teams were a little slow to get off the blocks.
Tied at 113 with just two events remaining, the Bison outscored the women’s team by 18 points in those final two races, ultimately beating the Colonials 140-122. But in contrast to the women’s neck-and-neck finish, the men failed to secure any first place victories in any event, losing 165-91.
“We lost a lot of close races,” head coach Dan Rhinehart said. “We need to be a little more focused and not let ourselves be tired, and be more aggressive at the walls.”
The women started off the meet – which featured 28 individual and relay events – with a strong performance in the 200-yard medley, edging off the Bison by a margin of 1:50.12 to 1:50.28.
The 200-yard medley team was led by senior Caroline Myers, who recorded two first place finishes in both the 1,000- and 500-yard freestyle events. She came just .07 seconds away from grabbing a third first place victory in the 200-yard free, but it was snatched away by Bucknell’s Rachel McGoff.
Following the meet, Myers said she felt strong despite the team’s exhausting week of practice. An experienced veteran on the team, Myers said she sees her team’s main problem as “holding back a little.”
“It was pretty awesome to see the women’s team really step up,” she said. “[But] we get scared to finish it, go out there and race it. So we’ve just gotta work on those finishes and just going out harder.”
Other top female performers included freshman Carly Whitmer, who finished first in both the 100- and 200-yard butterfly events, as well as junior Janica Lee, who grabbed a first-place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke.
The men’s team had a much tougher afternoon in the pool, only able to finish as high as second in all of their races.
Solid performances came from freshman Bogdan Balteanu, who finished second in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events, as well as junior transfer Goran Koprivnjak, who secured two second-place finishes in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly.
The men’s lackluster finish may be a result of inexperience. There are six freshmen on the roster of just 14 swimmers – four fewer than last year’s team and six fewer than the 20 swimmers listed on the women’s team. The absence was noticeable from the stands, with the Bison outnumbering Colonials swimmers in many of the men’s events, sometimes even with empty GW lanes.
One of the six freshmen on the men’s squad, Balteanu spoke well of the transition that his team is currently undergoing.
“We do have a lot of freshmen, but you know, I think we’re all dealing with the training well,” he said. “[We’re] putting in the effort, we’re working as a team, we’re pushing each other in practice.”
Despite the combined team loss and the weak showing from the men, Rhinehart said he expects success as the season moves forward. Rhinehart added that he does not view this season as a transition year for the men’s team.
“I’m more looking at that we’ve got good talent here and I want to get the most I can get out of every one of them.”