The Men’s and Women’s swimming teams each had a very successful weekend. On Friday, Jan. 23, each team faced Mount Saint Mary College, and both were victorious. The Men’s team won by a score of 127-69, while the Women’s team took the win by a 115-87 margin.
The Men’s team was led by fourth-year co-Captain Jack Spader and first-year Chad Plante, who each won two individual events. Spader was victorious in the 200 yard freestyle (1:53.48) and the 200 yard backstroke (2:12.05), while Plante took home first place in the 400 yard individual medley (4:49.15) and the 200 yard breaststroke (2:29.00).
On the women’s side, first-year Molly McCulloch led the team, earning the gold in the 50 yard freestyle (25.76) and the 100 yard freestyle (56.62). She was named SUNYAC Female Swimmer of the Week for the period ending Sunday, Jan. 25.
Both teams were once again victorious the next day, as each squad defeated SUNYAC opponent SUNY Oneonta on Saturday, Jan. 24. The Women’s team fought for a 142-120 win, while the Men’s team squeaked out a 138-124 victory.
The Women’s team was again led by McCulloch, who finished in at 1:03.52 in the 100 yard backstroke and also set a new pool record in the 100 yard butterfly (58.33). The previous record of 59.45 was set by Carly Marshall in 2013.
Other standouts for the team included third-year Cassidy Griger, who earned first in the 200 yard freestyle (2:01.08) and the 100 yard freestyle (56.20). Griger also placed second in the 500 yard freestyle (5:26.67).
Fourth-year co-Captain Samantha Granan also won an individual event, as she claimed victory in the 100 yard breaststroke (1:09.96).
With the win, the team extended their undefeated record to 6-0. Fourth-year Kat Buyes credits the team’s success on their ability to compete in a wide range of events.
“We have a great depth of talent throughout the team, and while we lost some top swimmers last year we hold some of the most depth in all the events in the conference,” Buyes said. “Our team is able to come together and work hard in practice and that shows every time we race in a meet.”
Head Coach Scott Whitbeck agreed.
“I believe this is the deepest and most talented team I’ve ever had,” he said. “Our depth has made a big difference in winning dual meets.”
As for the Men’s team, Spader showed dominance. He again won two events for the team, as he placed first in the 1,000 yard freestyle (10:25.94) and the 500 yard freestyle (5:01.05) in his final meet at Elting Pool.
“This weekend’s win was a huge accomplishment,” Spader said. “Oneonta is a big rival and we have been trying to topple them since my sophomore year.”
For the Men’s team, this was their first victory against Oneonta since November 2011
Both teams will next face SUNY Geneseo on Saturday, Jan. 31. This will be a tough test for the Hawks, Spader said, as Geneseo took home both the Men’s and Women’s Swimming SUNYAC titles last season. This will be each team’s last matchup before the SUNYAC Tournament starts on Thursday, Feb. 19.
“Geneseo is a formidable opponent so we will see some tough competition in every event,” Spader said. “That meet will be a final checkpoint to determine what approach [Whitbeck] will take with our training.”
As a way to start preparing for the SUNYAC Tournament, Whitbeck has begun the process of what he likes to call “tapering.”
“[Tapering] is a gradual reduction in volume and intensity that allows for our team to ‘peak’ at the championship meet,” he said. “It’s the time of the season that everyone looks forward to as the workouts are not as intense and the swimmers feel a lot better. After our meet against Geneseo, we will move into a full taper phase for the final two and a half weeks.”