By MIKEY BARNES
Prior to the start of the season, both the men and women’s University of Mary Washington swim programs were predicted to win the Capital Athletic Conference title. The men’s program will be striving for its 16th consecutive title, while the women are fighting for their 26th straight. The programs began their season on Oct. 16, as they took on opponents from Washington & Lee University.
Led by All-American Alex Anderson for the past few years, the men’s swim team has moved past the graduation of the most decorated UMW athlete in the school’s history and is hoping to follow behind their captains this season as they try to secure another conference title. The captains of this year’s men’s team include seniors Vance Solseth, Zach Eisig, Nate Hartt, Matt Garstka, Connor Nye and Sean Mayer.
The men’s team fell to opponent Washington & Lee in a 160-102 loss in Goolrick Natatorium, UMW’s home pool. Despite the loss, the Eagles kicked off the meet in impressive fashion, as they won the 200-yard medley relay, swam by Mayer, Garstka, junior Dallas Tarkenton and sophomore Kenyon Huber-Wilker.
The four won with an impressive time of 1:37:99. Huber-Wilker, went on to win two more events, both individual. Huber-Wilker won the 100-yard breaststroke at a time of 1:01:58, teammate and freshman Jeffrey Leckrone followed behind Huber-Wilker in second place with a time of 1:02:46.
Huber-Wilker then went on to win the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:14:10, again followed up by Leckrone in second with a time of 2:18:10. Freshman Ricardo Bonilla-Vazquez earned a victory in the 200-yard individual medley, with a time of 2:00:61.
“Last week’s meet was a little disappointing,” Garstka said, concerning the team’s loss to Washington and Lee. “You never want to start off your season with a loss but we had some good swims. We have to start somewhere.”
The women’s team lost five seniors themselves following the end of last season. This year they look to lock up their 26th straight conference title headed by a younger group, including a number of sophomores and juniors. While senior captains, Stephanie Hallock, Hannah Haggy, Abby Cox, Katie Fago, Rachel Thomas and Ashley Walnut lead the Eagles this season.
The women’s team had the opposite outcome than that of the men, as they continued their winning ways and defeated Washington and Lee by a score of 145-117. With a time of 1:48:95, the relay team of Hallock, Hagy, Fago, and junior Anna Corley, won the 200-yard medley relay.
The foursome also went on to win the 200-yard freestyle relay. Corley went on to win both the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke events, with times of 1:10:68 and 2:10:81. Sophomore Megan Murphy grabbed first place in the 200 yard butterfly, with a time of 2:13:15, Murphy also went on to grab second place in the 200 individual medley, clocking in at 2:15:34.
The Eagles claimed first, second and third place in the 50-yard medley, with Hallock finishing first, Shannon Coryell grabbing second and Hagy rounding out the top three. Hallock took first place in the 100-yard freestyle at 53:99 and Cox won the 200 yard breaststroke to wrap up the winning ways for the UMW swim program.
Despite the solid performance by both the men and the women, ‘satisfied’ would not bethe word to describe the attitude of the team.“The team is very consistent in training, there is always room for improvement in oursport, we just want see people swim fast,” Garstka said.
And swim fast they did, as the men’s team went on to defeat Catholic University in theirnext meet by a score of 139 to 123, to improve to 1-1 on the season. The foursome of Garstka,Solseth, Mayer and Hartt won the 200-medley relay. Solseth grabbed an individual first-placevictory himself by winning the 200-freestyle. Leckrone ended up in first place in this meet in the100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:03:12. Sophomore Jake Schroth took first place in the100-yard freestyle and Huber-Wilker found himself in first place again for the 200-yardbreaststroke. Eisig and Bonilla-Vazquez rounded out the victorious ways for the UMW men’sswim program.
The women’s swim team improved to 2-0 on the season with a dominating 163-99 victory over Catholic University in D.C. The 200-yard medley relay team of Fago, Haggy, Coryell and Hallock swam to first for the second consecutive meet. Murphy grabbed multiple victories in the meet against Catholic, with first-place finishes in 1000-freestyle, the 200-yard backstroke and the 200-yard individual medley. Freshman Taylor Mooney won the 100-yard backstroke for the Eagles with a time of 1:02:65. Hagy went on to win multiple individual victories including the 100-yard breaststroke and the 100-yard butterfly. Coryell won the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 25:47.
Freshman Emily Adams received her first collegiate first-place finish with a time of 2:14:94 in the 200-yard backstroke. Cox took first in the 500-yard freestyle and Hagy won the 100-yard butterfly. The foursome of Hallock, Walnut, freshman Kait Luncher and sophomore Bailey Stewart won the 200-yard freestyle relay to finish up the successful day for the women’s program.
“I have a good feeling about this season. We brought in a strong freshmen class and a new assistant coach [Dalton Herendeen] who has already made an impact,” Garstka said. The men and women swim programs for UMW will be back in action on Oct. 30 as they will travel to Frostburg State to take on the Bobcats. The meet will begin at 6:00 p.m.