Women’s swimming and diving closed out its fall competition Saturday against Atlantic 10 competition, defeating Richmond in a decisive 173–123 victory.
GW swept the podium in three speed and distance events, including the 1000-yard freestyle, the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard breaststroke. A Colonial won half of the total events, leaving the Spiders to claim the top finish in the remaining eight events.
“The big thing to me was coming in and just making sure our team was really enjoying the whole process of a dual meet and being in a competitive environment where the stakes aren’t as high,” head coach Brian Thomas said. “But it’s a conference opponent at home and we don’t get that a whole lot, so I thought we responded really well.”
Freshman swimmer Stine Omdahal Petersen took two wins for GW, taking top places in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke. Petersen also raced in the winning 200-yard medley relay team.
Her dominant performance comes after wrapping up competition at the Toyota U.S. Open Championships in Atlanta, which began Wednesday. Petersen and junior swimmer Meghan Burton flew back from the competition Friday to compete against Richmond Saturday morning.
Petersen said that while the back-to-back meets and traveling were fatiguing, the exciting atmosphere in both Atlanta and the Smith Center pool gave her the energy to perform well.
“It was exciting being in Atlanta and seeing all of the big stars,” Peterson said. “It was definitely hard traveling yesterday and having a meet today, but everyone was so motivated and everyone was excited for this meet. So it was really nice and it helped me a lot to swim today.”
Burton nabbed a first place finish in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 56.86 and a third place finish in the 100-yard backstroke. She also was a part of two first place relay teams, swimming the first leg of the 200-yard freestyle and the third leg of the 200-yard medley.
Thomas said he was pleased with his team’s showing, especially because the squad competed without seven swimmers and divers who sat out with injuries.
“It does showcase our depth, which is great, you need that to win a conference championship,” Thomas said. “And we were down seven athletes today and still won the meet pretty handedly, which is nice to see.”
Competing against the Spiders gives the Colonials a preview of the A-10 Championships, where the two teams will face off again.
Saturday’s meet marked the end of GW’s fall schedule, meaning the Colonials can enjoy a small break for the holidays before continuing training during winter break.
Thomas said the squad can go home and train with club teams they swam with in high school, and he supplements club training with a packet of workouts they can complete over break. He added that the break is primarily a time to de-stress after a competitive fall slate.
“We also want them to have time with family,” Thomas said. “Something that’s really important to me is that coming off all the stressors of the fall semester, which is really heavy, having some time to decompress and de-stress and enjoy that whole period of time.”
Sophomore swimmer Rebecca Smolcic said that while the training may not stop completely over the break, they can get some time in to relax ahead of spring competition.
“We don’t really get much time off, we have to try to swim as much as we can,” Smolcic said. “I think it will be just a nice mental break for everyone, because the semester is being quite long, we’ve had a lot of meets. So hopefully that will bring our mindset back to a stable place.”
Against Richmond, Smolcic smoked the 50-yard freestyle event in 24.03 seconds, just a second slower than her all-time record from last year’s A-10 Championships.
After the break, the Colonials will begin spring competition against Georgetown Jan. 18 and start preparing for the A-10 Championships, which are held Feb. 19-23.