In a dual meet against SUNY Oswego on Nov. 12, women’s swimming set the tone for their upcoming season. Receiving first place recognition in 10 of 11 events, the Hawks sent a message that their first meet at Ithaca College was a fluke as the only loss so far this season.
While second-year Chelsea Allocco won both the 1,000 and 500 freestyle races and fourth-year Christine Rieth won the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke, nine other athletes earned gold. Third-year Katina Lown, third-year Yuka Suzuka, third-year Carly Marshall, second-year Victoria Scalise, first-year Katherine Buyes and fourth-year Captain Taylor Henshaw all held top performances.
“This was our best performance of the fall because we did the little things right,” said Head Coach Scott Whitbeck. “We were racing smart, finishing our races well and were maintaining a good team atmosphere throughout the meet.”
Whitbeck’s goal as a coach is to work with the team to maximize their capability to reach their potential athletically and academically. So far, he has been getting results. A week after the performance against Oswego, New Paltz defeated Vassar College.
“From an athletic standpoint, I think this team has the potential to have one of our best seasons in program history,” Whitbeck said. “We have a great combination of both top-end talent and depth, and the women on the team are dedicated and determined to succeed.”
The girls finished second last year at the SUNYAC Championships and hope to get back there again this year.
“My personal goal is to go to NCAA and give my team the positive atmosphere and spirit,” said Suzuka.
Henshaw shares the players’ and coaches enthusiasm. She believes that the team can reach SUNYACs and win the championship this year, surpassing last year’s performance.
“We are looking to beat SUNYAC rivals Cortland and Geneseo, and I think that it’s possible for our team this year,” Henshaw said. “We have a great attitude in and out of the pool and everyone is really psyched to swim fast and work hard.”
While all the girls are working hard and winning high honors, Rieth has proven herself a powerhouse so far. Rieth has won every race she competed in, in four of five meets.
The bar has been set high and it is up to the Hawks to maintain their momentum. Whitbeck plans to encourage and push the athletes throughout the season so the time before SUNYACs will be as successful as the last month.
“Its great to be off to a 4-1 start, we are progressing as a team each week and I’m looking forward to seeing how we do,” Whitbeck said.
The Hawks face off in the ECAC Winter Championship this weekend, beginning Friday, Dec. 2.