By CARTER WALLER
Similar to their female counterparts, the men’s swim team at the University of Mary Washington captured a dominating conference title to continue one of the longest Capital Athletic Conference win streaks in school history.
This year marks the 15th consecutive CAC championship for the men’s swimming team. The team had a dominating performance at the CAC swimming championship on Sunday, Feb. 22 in St. Mary’s City, Maryland, led by CAC Male Swimmer of the Year senior Alex Anderson and CAC Coach of the Year Abby Brethauer.
The CAC championship featured first-place finishes from junior Sean Mayer in the 100 freestyle, sophomore Tyler Gimple in the mile and Anderson in the 200 and 400 individual medley and 200 butterfly. The 400 freestyle relay team of Anderson and juniors Vance Solseth Matt Garstka and Mayer placed first with a time of 3:06.00.
Anderson dominated CAC competition throughout his collegiate career, setting countless school and conference records. He earned an invitation to the Division III National Swimming Championship every year of his career, winning the 400 individual medley as a junior and sophomore and the 200 butterfly as a junior.
This year, he will compete in the 200 IM, 400 IM and 200 butterfly as the only member to make Nationals from the swim team.
“I would look for him to compete in all three of his events, and with the level of talent in Division III right now, it will probably take times close to NCAA records in order to get the wins,” said Brethauer.
And according to Anderson, he has high hopes for doing just that on March 16 in Shenandoah, Texas.
“I’m shooting for the 200 Fly record at Nationals,” said Anderson.
The expectations are high for Anderson, whose illustrious collegiate career will soon come to a close.
“I think he has set himself up to do some amazing things when we go to NCAAs,” said Brethauer. “If Alex swims to his potential, there really are very few limits on what he will be able to achieve. Anderson is one of the most talented, humble, team-oriented swimmers I have had the opportunity to work with… He has pushed me to become better as a coach and raised the profile of our team and university on a national level.”
Brethauer became head coach in 2011 and has continued the swimming program’s winning streak, coaching both the men and women’s teams to a CAC championship in every season.
“When I has hired I was very aware of the history of success within the UMW athletic department and specifically the swim teams,” said Brethauer. “I am an incredibly competitive person and certainly do not want to be the first coach to break the winning streak that exists for swimming,”
Brethauer won the Coach of the Year award for her work with both the men’s and women’s swimming teams, something she has never done before in her tenure as head coach. Last year, she received men’s Coach of the Year honors but shared the women’s honor with two other coaches.
According to Brethauer, she was very surprised to win the award because of competition on both the men’s and women’s sides this season.
“As I said to the team at the end of the meet, being named Coach of the Year is just further testament to the work that the team has put in and the results that they were able to achieve,” said Brethauer. “I am very fortunate to have amazing people supporting me. These awards are really just a reflection on them.”