Men’s swimming and diving was selected as the favorite to win the 2018 Atlantic 10 Championship by a preseason coaches’ poll announced Tuesday.
The Colonials were awarded five of the eight first-place votes and a total of 60 points in the poll conducted by each of the conference’s head coaches. La Salle, Massachusetts and Fordham each received one first-place vote.
“There’s a lot of great teams in this conference that are definitely looking at us with a target on our backs,” head coach James Winchester said in a release. “We’re going to embrace that challenge and hopefully put ourselves in the best position to contend for the conference title in February.”
GW won its first-ever conference championship last February, defeating second-place La Salle 562.5–528. They graduated the event’s Most Outstanding Performer in Andrea Bolognesi last year but return a core of record-holding swimmers including sophomore Moritz Fath and juniors Gustav Hokfelt and Adam Drury.
Winchester – who won the A-10 coach of the year in 2017 – returns to helm the Colonials for his third year.
The team started its season competing in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America Open Water Nationals Sept. 16. GW finished in third place as a team, and Fath came in third place overall.
The Colonials open their indoor competition Nov. 6-7 in the FIU fall classic. They also have three home meets before the conference championship is set to begin Feb. 14.
2018 Men’s Swimming and Diving Preseason Poll
1. GW (5) – 60
2. La Salle (1) – 54
3. Massachusetts (1) – 51
4. Fordham (1) – 38
5. Saint Louis – 24
6. George Mason – 23
7. St. Bonaventure – 21
8. Davidson – 17