The Men and Women’s swimming teams will compete in the 2015 SUNYAC Championships at Burt Flickinger Pool in Buffalo, New York from Thursday, Feb. 19 to Saturday, Feb. 21.
Last season, the Men’s team finished sixth out of nine teams. Third-year co-Captain Ethan Cooke flirted with the program record in the 200 butterfly twice and he ended up placing sixth with a time of 1:57.88. Cooke qualified for the championship final of the 100 butterfly and ended up taking seventh (52.86).
With a 4-3 finish to the regular season, Head Coach Scott Whitbeck said this year’s Men’s team is deeper and more talented.
“The team should compete with the best of the conference,” he said. “We have a whole different set of swimmers this year. We’re looking for people to step up.”
Whitbeck said a challenge of preparing for SUNYACs was cutting down his roster from 26 swimmers on the Women’s side and 25 on the Men’s side to 18 each. His SUNYAC roster is based on a combination of who he thought performed the best all season long and who has the best potential to score for the Hawks.
For the Men’s team, this season is the first time since 2010-11 that the team will have a full SUNYAC roster. Last year’s roster had a total of 15 Men’s swimmers.
Fourth-year co-Captain Jack Spader said the full roster is important because it means the team can swim more races, especially relays which are worth quite a few points.
Spader was named to the 2014 SUNYAC Second Team due to a second-place finish in the 1,650 freestyle and a third-place result in the 500 freestyle at the 2014 SUNYAC Swimming & Diving Championships.
The Women’s side placed third out of nine teams in last year’s Championships with 472 points. This season, the Hawks finished 6-1 during the regular season.
Last season, current fourth-year co-Captain Samantha Granan and third-year Cassidy Griger each made the 2014 All-SUNYAC Second Team as a result of their second and third place finishes, respectively.
Granan placed second in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.68) and the 200 breaststroke (2:26.23). She achieved an NCAA “B” cut in the 100 breaststroke, and set a program record in the event. She also placed fourth in the 200 individual medley (2:10.85) and competed on the Hawks’ fifth-place medley relay (1:50.52), fourth-place 400 medley relay (3:59.77) and fourth-place 200 freestyle relay (1:38.53).
Griger placed third in the 200 freestyle (1:54.49). Individually, she also placed fourth in the 100 freestyle (53.65) and sixth in the 200 individual medley (2:11.77). She contributed to the Hawks’ second-place 800 freestyle relay (7:48.36), fourth-place 400 medley relay (3:59.77) and fourth-place 400 freestyle relay (3:35.99).
Whitbeck said there are always slight variations to preparing for SUNYACs. This season, the Women’s strength training regimen was changed to try to get the swimmers’ legs well-rested.
“At the end of the season, I like to think there’s a little bit of magic to resting,” he said. “I think it’s more about if you put in the work and if you rest up you’ll be fine, so that’s pretty much where we are.”
With a three-week gap between their final regular season matchup against SUNY Geneseo and the first day of SUNYACs, third-year co-Captain Ryan Lindgren said the Hawks taper in to repair muscle and reach peak performances.
Third-year co-Captain Maggie Heaton said the Women’s team prepares for SUNYACs by doing something they call, “secret psych.” This is where each team member decorates another’s locker each day for a week before the championships to get the team excited, she said.
“We have also been working hard, swimming doubles and lifting all season to prepare for this meet,” Heaton said. “[On Saturday, Feb. 7], we simulated a meet by suiting up and setting up the timing system. The team performed very well and it got us all extremely excited to compete.”