The New Paltz Women’s Swim team has made a splash in the SUNYAC conference with a current 9-3 overall record, despite saying goodbye to a gifted graduating class in 2011. The success of the season so far has made them the team to beat in the conference, especially after besting last year’s Conference-winning SUNY Geneseo with a meet score of 182-150.
Head Coach Scott Whitbeck said he hadn’t initially thought the team would do as well as they had last season, but knew his team could rise to the challenge.
“I did not expect this team to perform as well as they did, especially after graduating six really good seniors,” Whitbeck said. “Having a loss like that can either be detrimental or bolstering to a team.”
While the team has seen success as a whole, they have gained success based on individual performance as well. Third-year swimmers Yuka Suzuka and Carly Marshall earned SUNYAC swimmer of the week nods earlier in the season.
Both Suzuka and Marshall said the accomplishment has a positive effect on people to compete harder, but also adds on pressure when it comes to game time.
“I struggle dealing with pressure nearly every meet but I continually remind myself that I’m not the only one that has pressure on them on the team,” Marshall said. “It’s a team effort and we all absorb the pressure.”
Marshall said she owes her success to the positive attitude that she’s maintained all season.
“A negative attitude will affect the way you perform,” Marshall said.
Suzuka also said the key to swimming well is to be positive during the meets and to not go into any event with a negative outlook. She said the success of the season will add onto the pressure of the SUNYAC championships to take place over the next few days.
“I always feel the pressure and to take away the pressure I slap my face really hard to pump up and get excited,” Suzuka said.
Whitbeck said he has been impressed by both Marshall and Suzuka’s contributions during the season, and believes they will be key come tournament time.
“I’m looking for them to become big contributors in their upcoming meet,” Whitbeck said.
The team’s 9-3 record is made even more impressive considering they walk into tournaments with a disadvantage. The Hawks do not have a diving squad to compete against conference rivals, which puts them at an immediate handicap.
“You need to have a 10 ½ ft. pool to practice and compete with a diving section, and our pool is only 10 ft.,” Whitbeck said. “This usually handicaps us by 40 points during meets.”
Despite the disadvantage, Whitbeck said he is anticipating the SUNYAC Tournament with a positive outlook and high expectations.
“I expect to go out there and compete for the championship,” Whitbeck said. “I expect an entire team effort, and everyone competing at their best.”