Strokes of Success

Photo by Robin Weinstein.
Photo by Robin Weinstein.
Photo by Robin Weinstein.

Heading into their break from now until Dec. 29, the Women’s Swimming team has a 3-0 record and finished fourth in the Eastern College Athletics Conference (ECAC) Winter Championships.

Head Coach Scott Whitbeck said the team has succeeded during the fall portion of their season, which is set up to build fitness, strength and practice racing at dual meets

“They set themselves up to have a great second half of the season,” Whitbeck said.

He said the highlight of the meet was fourth-year distance free swimmer Chelsea Allocco, who achieved two NCAA provisional qualifying times. She met the NCAA “B” cut in the 1,650 freestyle (17:17.62) and the NCAA “B” cut in the 500 freestyle on the way to setting a meet-record (5:00.76).
Allocco said she is happy with how she’s been performing in competitions so far this season.

“I’m a lot faster than I was at this point last season,” Allocco said. “I’m hoping it will lead to good things at the end of the season.”

In addition to Allocco, Whitbeck said he was pleased with the 800m free relay team composed of Allocco, second-year Cassidy Griger, third-year Kat Buyes and fourth-year Victoria Scalise.

Allocco said the team is doing better than they’ve done in the past as an overall unit.

“We had a huge meet this past weekend and a lot of people got best times from freshman to seniors, so you can see everyone is improving, which is great,” she said.

Both Whitbeck and Assistant Coach Jay Daniels said they have been impressed with first-year free swimmer Kyrstin Gallagher.

“We didn’t know what we were going to get out of her and we’re starting to see she’s going to be a long-term contributor for us,” Whitbeck said.

Allocco said Whitbeck has stressed the team needs to make sure they get to the wall first because teams have been out-touching them recently in the last five yards of a race. She also said that the team needs to prepare so they have a plan going into their races.

Whitbeck said the swimmers need to make sure they’re improving every day and challenging themselves to get better when working on their individual techniques and “race specific work.”

Having a lot of time away from the team setting because of winter break, Allocco said she will be training on her own.

“I’m going to join a gym when I’m home and try to workout an hour or two a day during finals week, but obviously school comes first,” she said.

Whitbeck said the team leaves for Florida on Dec. 29 where they will train and compete with Limestone College until Jan. 6.

“They need to keep working out, but it’s on them,” Whitbeck said.

Allocco said the team has the ability to do “awesome things this year.”

“We can come in second in SUNYACs, we’ve come in fourth the past few years,” she said. “This year, with this team we have a real shot of coming in second.”

Whitbeck said the team needs to have all 18 swimmers contribute to have a chance to win the SUNYAC Championship.

“We spend so much time working and now we have to start showing the results, start swimming fast, start perfecting race and stroke techniques, so we can rest and then peak in February at the SUNYAC Championships,” Whitbeck said.