Swim Team’s Season Starts Swimmingly

Jessica Lester

The SUNY New Paltz Women’s Swim team has recently begun its 2010-2011 season, and all are hoping for streamlined success.

The team went stroke-for-stroke against SUNY Oneonta and the United States Coast Guard Academy this past weekend, defeating Oneonta 118-87 on Friday and coming just short of victory Saturday at 146-116 against the USCGA. Although the team received mixed results over the weekend, morale is high and the team is taking it on the chin and moving toward bigger fish.

The Women’s Swim team, led by Head Coach Scott Whitbeck who has held the position for three years, has many of the same swimmers from last season, minus four who graduated, and the addition of seven first-years. Whitbeck said this year, the team is better than ever, and it could potentially be “one of the best that we’ve ever had at this college.”

Along with the new and improved lineup, Whitbeck has changed the way the team practices and added more dry land training.  He said the team has transitioned from a three day a week lifting program to a four day a week program where the team spends two days a week in the weight room and two days doing dry land techniques.

“You can do a lot of bench presses and biceps in the weight room, but will that necessarily make you a better swimmer? I’m really trying to use motions and things, to help develop muscles that will help them specifically for swimming,” said Whitbeck.

This new style of practicing, while tougher, has been met with positive results and reactions from the team. Fourth-year sociology major and swim team co-captain Allison Wells, thinks the new training regimen has made the future of the team all the more bright.

“It’s more intense but I really think it’s going to pay off at the end of the season when we head to Buffalo for championships,” said Wells.

The team, according to Whitbeck, is formidable from any angle, with talented swimmers filling every position. Whitbeck said that with such a well-rounded team, the goal is to live up to that potential during the season, and improve every day.

With new teammates, it’s hard for any team to get things in order and get over the awkward assimilation stage. However, according to swimmer Becky Baker, a fourth-year psychology major, the new girls have been embraced by the whole team. Baker said the new swimmers have also adjusted to the unique form of practicing as well. Baker also highlights the close relationship between herself and all of the other girls, as one contributing factor to the team’s success.

The hope of every swimmer is to drop their times and stay fast so that they can continue accumulating wins and breaking records, Baker said. With such a positive outlook and well defined lineup, triumph can only be expected of the Lady Hawks and Whitbeck seems to agree.

“We’re training harder than we ever had,” said Whitbeck. “I’m happy with where we are.”