Men’s and women’s swimming and diving look ahead to A-10 Championships

Media Credit: File Photo by Sydney Walsh | Assistant Photo Editor

Before the A-10 tournament, both teams have their sights set on upcoming invitational competitions.

As the Atlantic 10 Championships draw near, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams are gearing up to repeat their success from the previous season.

Despite a pandemic-induced shortened season last year, the men’s and women’s teams still managed to finish successfully at first and fourth in the A-10 championships, respectively. Both teams are coming back off of fresh wins against their biggest rival, Georgetown, in which the women’s team pulled away with a 165-127 win, while the men’s team won a closer battle with a score of 159-141.

“I think we did pretty well,” senior Grace Olivardia said. “We like to get our hand on the wall first a lot of the time, if not all of the time. So I think that moving into A-10 with that race confidence of just continuously winning races is important moving forward.”

The women’s team embodied this mentality at the meet. The team had many individual performances that resulted in race wins, contributing to their team win against Georgetown.

Additionally, many members contributed to second- and third-place finishes behind the races won, only adding to the success of the team.

Junior Becca Brown won both the 50 and 100 free while freshman Julia Knox won the 200 free and the 200 individual medley. Senior Erin McCarthy took home wins in both the 1,000 and 500 free.

On the diving side, junior Jamie Doak and freshman Dara Reyblat secured the top two finishes in each event and Doak put up a season-best score of 282.98 on the 3-meter board.

Meanwhile, the men’s team put on a strong performance highlighted by junior Durde Matic, who won the 100 fly and led the team in the 50 free. He also contributed to the victory in the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay.

“The Georgetown meet for me was mostly about racing and not about having good times,” Matic said. “And I feel that was the case for all of the swimmers from our team. It was pretty much practicing a lot of racing, a lot of trying to compete with the swimmers next to you rather than fighting the clock.”

This mentality has set the men’s team up for success so far this season and only made them more poised for the rest of the season.

Before the A-10 tournament, both teams have their sights set on the Cavalier Invitational at the University of Virginia for swimmers and the Duke Dog Diving Invitational at James Madison University for divers. Preparation for each team is important, but so is keeping their bodies healthy for the championships.

“Not our whole team is going to the Virginia meet,” Olivardia said. “I think that’s a pretty selective meet for some people. But moving into the A-10, we are definitely lightening up a little bit to get ready to gear up and race hard.”

The men’s team is taking a very similar approach, also emphasizing proper preparation rather than continuous practice, which would put too much stress on the players’ bodies.

“Pretty much coming down to the end of the season and the A-10 we’re swimming less in the next couple of weeks,” Matic said. “So we can get our best results.”

Looking ahead to the A-10 tournament, it is important to note how much different this season has been compared to last season being shortened because of COVID-19. The team did not get to participate in any fall meets last season and endured some canceled meets in the spring as well.

“The thing that sticks out most is that it’s just been vastly different than last year,” Head Coach Brian Thomas said. “So getting back to some rhythm and normalcy in terms of the timeline of the season has been good.”

This increased practice and game cycle has helped contribute to what will hopefully be an even more successful season than last.

“The men are in position to repeat,” Thomas said. “I think it’s a good conference, and we never want to discount that by any means. I just like the way we match up. I think we look pretty good there.”

While the men’s team looks like it is going to repeat its championship, the women’s team does have more on their slate, especially after finishing fourth in the championship tournament last season.

“That’s where it’s a tale of two different meets – the women’s is far more competitive,” Thomas said. “We have probably four teams toward the top that could contend to win it. Our strength is definitely in our depth, and if we can get more people toward the middle of our roster to step up and get into significant positions, that’s how we’ll win the meet.”

The women’s team does have other strengths that could easily propel them to A-10 success in the future.

“The flip side is that our women’s team is pretty young,” Thomas said. “Our seniors are experienced, but we have a good chunk of younger swimmers, and you never know what you’re going to get in that sort of scenario.”

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.