The New Paltz Hawks Swim Towards the SUNYACs

The men's and women's swim teams prepare for upcoming SUNYAC meets. Photo Courtesy of New Paltz Athletic Communications Department.

The SUNY New Paltz swim teams held a green-out tri-meet at home in the Elting Gym on Nov. 18 in the spirit of Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month. The Hawks squared off against Skidmore College and Bard College, both members of the Liberty League. The men’s and women’s teams both came in second out of the three teams, defeating the Bard Raptors and falling to the Skidmore Thoroughbreds.

The meet started off the way each does, with a team cheer. “It is loud, long and an exciting way to kick off races,” said fourth-year men’s team captain, Mason Kennedy.

Amanda O’Brien, a second-year distance swimmer, added, “The energy during the cheer and on the deck following it is always incredible.”

“With the back-to-back meets, it’s a lot, but I think everyone handled it very well and I’m happy with the times we all showed,” said Alex Gorzula, a first-year breast-stroke and individual medley swimmer, about the Nov. 18 meet.

This meet followed the Hawks’ short drive across the Hudson River to Vassar College on Nov. 17, where both the men and women came in second to the Brewers.

During the Nov. 3 away meet, both the New Paltz men’s and women’s teams came in second to the Division II Adelphi University Panthers.

The Union tri-meet was hosted by Union College’s Chargers on Oct. 28 at Union’s Alumni Gym Pool. Again, the men and women finished second to the host teams.

The 2023-2024 season kicked off at the Pumpkin Relays, hosted by SUNY Cortland on Oct. 21 at Cortland’s Harriet-Holsten Pool. The meet offered a series of traditional and three-person relays for the beginning of the season. Here, the men finished second and the women third out of four teams.

Despite their overall records, both SUNY New Paltz swim teams are far from discouraged. “We work incredibly hard, with double practices nearly every day and meets almost every weekend,” Kennedy said. This amounts to approximately 17 practice hours each week.

“This season, we are super excited to be going on our first training trip in three years. On Jan. 2, our team will head to Florida for a week of outdoor course training,” he added. “This is a huge opportunity to get some great work in and grow even closer with our teammates.”

It is the culture of the swim community, not the scoreboard, that is most highly valued. “The team is basically family,” O’Brien said. “Everyone is so close and we frequently hang out as a team off the pool deck. It’s so refreshing to be a part of something where everyone is so supportive of each other.”

“We have the best energy out of every other team,” Gorzula said. “I’m happy to be part of New Paltz.”

The season so far has been a long and grueling journey to prepare for the culmination of the Hawks’ efforts: the SUNYAC championships in February. Going forward, the teams will focus on these very important meets.

The mid-season College of New Jersey Invitational is coming up on Dec. 1-3 in Ewing, New Jersey, where “the pressure is on,” said O’Brien.

“This meet is prelims and finals. We swim the events we are set to swim at the SUNYACS. So, this is a great time to evaluate where we currently stand with our times and events,” she said. “We’ve been training really hard, so I can’t wait to see everyone show the payoff of their hard work at TCNJ.”