New swimming head coach Matt Sellman is fitting in just fine.
The University of Mary Washington team has had little trouble adjusting to a change in staff, starting the 2007 season with just one loss between the men’s and women’s teams.
“Both are very strong teams that look to make a significant impact this season,” Sellman said.
The Eagles have done just that thus far.
Competition began Oct. 20 when the women’s team beat Washington & Lee, 169-93. The men were not as fortunate, falling to the Generals by an identical 169-93 score.
However, the UMW men bounced back in time for the dual meet Oct. 27, sweeping Salisbury University and Gallaudet University by scores of 64-31 and 82-12, respectively.
The women’s team tacked on two more wins as well, beating the Seagulls 73-22 and the Bison 79-16 to remain undefeated.
With an already impressive record, Sellman anticipates big things for the Eagles this year.
“Our team goals include winning the CAC Championships and setting a number of conference records along the way,” he said.
Freshman swimmer Leslie Holt agrees.
“The girls team has made academic and swim-related goals such as maintaining a 3.0 GPA and making it to Nationals,” she said.
Senior Jason Philpott is excited about his team’s start to the season and the strong roster.
“We have the largest and deepest men’s team we’ve ever had,” he said. “Our senior class expects to finish up undefeated.”
Philpott and the other Eagles will be challenged when they enter their biggest meet of the season Nov. 15 at the University of Maryland.
UMW will face seven Division I teams, a fact Leslie considers an honor.
“Being the only Division III team out of all Division I schools invited to such a fast meet as Maryland is an accomplishment in itself,” she said.
In the meantime, the Eagles will have to first contend with CAC rival York College of Pa. Saturday.
Philpott has high hopes against the Spartans.
“The whole team is pumped to go there and not only win the meet, but win every single race,” he said.
Beyond the meets to come in the following weeks, Sellman said he is already looking ahead to next semester and expects several swimmers to make Nationals in March and possibly earn All-American status.
While the big picture is never far from their minds, Holt said the Eagles have already accomplished a lot.
“With our new coach, I think we have made a lot of progress as a team both in and out of the pool and it’s only going to get better as the season goes on,” she said.