Practicing between 15-20 hours a week seemed to pay off for the SUNY New Paltz Women’s Swimming Team, after a strong finish to their season.
The team finished third out of nine teams with 472 points at the SUNYAC Swimming and Diving Championships on the weekend of Feb. 20 at Erie Community College’s Burt Flickinger Athletic Center.
Head Coach Scott Whitbeck said he was very happy with the women’s performance at the championships and with their third place finish.
“We moved up from last year, which is exciting,” he said. “In swimming, everything rides on the conference championship. How you’re judged and how it reflects on your season is all based on how you swim. You can win every meet all year, finish last at the championships and have a terrible season, or vice versa. I think we had a pretty good season as a whole. We had a good year.”
Whitbeck credited a few underclassman that stepped up at the conference and scored “some serious points” including second-year free swimmer Cassidy Griger and first-year distance free swimmer Ann Fici, as well as third-year breast stroke swimmer Samantha Granan.
Fourth-year distance free swimmer Chelsea Allocco brought in major wins for New Paltz at SUNYACs, winning two events and was selected to compete at NCAA Championships, said Whitbeck.
“I think third place is really good, especially since we don’t have diving so we have to work harder swimming-wise,” third-year free swimmer Kat Buyes said. said. “I think we did really well.”
Whitbeck said the lack of a diving team at New Paltz put the team at a disadvantage and the Lady Hawks would have been very close to second place if they had diving.
Third-year distance free swimmer Rachael Cummings attributed changed techniques to the team’s third place finish in the SUNYACs, but is looking towards how she can improve.
“We changed our training around, so I think it was helpful for most of the team,” she said. “We did more strength conditioning, so I think it helped.”
Whitbeck said the team has a balance of strength training and swimming and hopes to work on power in the water in the future.
“That’s not an easy thing to do,” he said. “You can develop power on land, but you just need to transfer that into water. It varies depending on the stroke too.”
Whitbeck also said distance freestyle and butterflies were both a strong aspect of the season and wants the team to work on developing backstroke by developing swimmers on the team.
“The majority of the swimmers are freshmen and sophomores, but they work really hard, they have a great attitude and are committed to swimming,” he said. “We have a bright future. Hopefully I think we can compete for conference titles in the future. That’s something I think we have the potential to do.”