By KATELYN LEBOFF
This past Saturday, Feb. 3, the University of Mary Washington men’s and women’s swim teams took on the Division I College of William and Mary Tribe in a dual meet, the last home meet of the season and the final one in the UMW seniors’ careers. This year’s senior class is one of the largest yet, packed with a total of sixteen graduating seniors on the men’s and women’s teams.
The junior class team members designed posters depicting each senior, adding their own flair with pictures and funny anecdotes to personalize them. Long standing tradition followed, with each senior announced and recognized individually for the effort they put in during their time here at UMW over the past four years.
“It [was] the most cheering I have heard all year,” claimed Eagles’ men’s swim team captain, senior Colin Hess.
The school spirit and intensity amongst the team was surging from the pool deck to the packed stands, though the Tribe proved to be up to the challenge to match the Eagles’ spirit.
But the meet didn’t have the Hollywood ending of the DIII school upsetting the superior team, as the both the men and women lost to end their respective regular seasons on a collective sour note. The women’s team fell to the Tribe 166-87, while the men suffered a 147-109 defeat.
There were a few major standouts amongst the losses. Senior Billy Norfolk made a big impact in his last home meet, winning the 200-yard butterfly with an impressive time of 1:55:01. Freshman Alex Anderson also made a name for himself, as he set a new Capital Athletic Conference record in the 200-yard breaststroke at 2:06:47.
Many of the Eagles swimmers were nervous about the outcome of the meet and expressed so beforehand. Mary Washington won a couple of events and overall had many personal bests, but in the end suffered a tough loss. The Eagles were a little disappointed by the outcome, but took the losses with grace knowing they had faced a much faster team. The UMW teams tried to look at the silver lining that they had gotten better from facing such stiff competition, which can only help them going forward.
“It was a tough loss, but we were excited to race a DI school,” freshman Robin Brazier said. “They were faster than us, and we have improved from it.”
The Eagles swim teams will have a week off before their season culminates at the CAC Championships starting on Feb. 17 at St. Mary’s College in Maryland. The men will look to capture their 12th straight conference title at the meet, while the women are in search of an unprecedented 22nd consecutive conference crown.