Fast Lane

Photo by Holly Lipka.

The Men’s and Women’s Swimming teams started their season this week at the Union Relays.

The Men placed third out of five teams with 84 points. This is the first time under Head Coach Scott Whitbeck’s eight-year tenure that the Hawks beat Union in scoring in the swimming events only.

After back-to-back second-place finishes to start the meet, the Hawks foursome of second-year Caleb Treadwell, third-year Austin Kowalsky and fourth-year co-Captains Will Koenig and Ethan Cooke won the 200 yard butterfly relay with a time of 1:38.81. Just two events later, New Paltz won its second event of the day. Treadwell, Cooke, Kowalsky and Koenig combined for a time of 1:29.58 in the 200 freestyle relay, which was nearly two seconds faster than the next-fastest relay.

On the women’s side, the Hawks finished first out of five teams with 118 points. They won seven out of the nine events.

They started off the meet with a win in the 400 yard medley relay and never looked back. The foursome of first-year Kaleigh O’Halloran, second-years Megan Joseph and Molly McCulloch and fourth-year co-Captain and State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Female Swimmer of the Week Cassidy Griger clocked a time of 4:09.68 in the event.

Whitbeck said he is very proud of his team and that this is the best they have performed at the Union Relays compared to previous seasons.

“I think this is the best the team has performed in many years at the Union Relays,” Whitbeck said. “Our depth is the best it’s ever been. We’ve had a lot of top-end swimmers from around the country come and perform well, but this year the depth on both the men and women’s side is exceptional.”

With the performance at the Union Relays, Hawks fourth-year Casey O’Connor said she is optimistic for the rest of the season as the team trained hard for the start of the season.

“I have really high hopes for this season, we brought in a lot of new talent and it has given our  team much more depth than in years past,” O’Connor said. “Our offseason work impacted the team in a positive way this year. The girls kept each other motivated as soon as everyone got back to school. Our performance at Union gave us confidence as a whole.”

The next meet for both teams will be against Vassar College on Friday, Oct. 30. Both teams defeated the Brewers last season.

Whitbeck said the team is training hard, and he expects the team to perform better than they did at the Union Relays.

“Hopefully we have better performances than the great ones we had last week,” Whitbeck said. “Vassar is competitive, we beat them at home on both sides last year and they have good recruits especially on the women’s side. We did beat them at the Relay meet so hopefully we can beat them again.”

After their upcoming meet against Vassar, both teams go on to face Ramapo College on Saturday, Oct. 31 followed by a trip to New York University for the NYU Invitational from Friday, Nov. 6 to Saturday, Nov. 7.

Men’s fourth-year co-Captain Ryan Lindgren said he expects the team to perform well despite the physical impact traveling has on the swimmers.

“We’re not really planning on laying off the training too much this week,” he said. “I think we’re deep and talented enough of a squad that we can show up this weekend and win these meets even with soreness. This is one of the best teams this program has seen in a long time and I believe we will perform well.”