Women’s Swimming Thrives at TCNJ Invite

Second-year Cooper Knapp’s 1:47.4 mark in the 200-yard butterfly is currently the second-fastest time in the country. Photo courtesy of sports information.

The New Paltz swimming teams wrapped up the first leg of their season from Dec. 1-3 at The College of New Jersey invitational, with the men finishing fourth out of six and the women second of seven.

This came on the heels of wins in dual meets against Vassar College and Hamilton College on Friday, Nov. 17 and Saturday, Nov. 18, respectively.

Hawks head coach Tom Eickelberg commended his teams for their strong performances in the dual meets so far this season.

“We rely on Katie Donlevy, Jaimie Kaefer, Barrett Celecki and Cooper Knapp to be the best every time they swim,” he said. “People get up when Cooper swims. We put him in early to shake some boots. Their respective loves for racing is a model for everyone.”

During the Sunday portion of the TCNJ invite, the aforementioned Knapp touched the wall at 1:47.4 in the 200-yard butterfly which broke the program record that he set himself last season.

With the time, Knapp met NCAA B-cut qualifications and is now second in the country in the 200-yard butterfly, with the first being 1:46.43.

On the women’s side, Kaefer captured the win in the 200-yard backstroke, logging a time of 2:07.84, while also being apart of the Hawks relay team that secured first place in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:36.68 alongside Donlevy and second-years Chelsea Angulas and Sarah Crespo.

The TCNJ meet was really exciting because it gave us a sense of where we’re at in terms of racing and how fast we can go,” Kaefer said. “I think that the majority of us on both the men’s and women’s sides put up some really fast times, wether they were lifetime bests, season bests, and especially Cooper’s NCAA B-cut.

“It’s really satisfying to see that we are capable of swimming this fast only half way through the season because with two more months of training we might be able to go faster than we thought was possible at the beginning of the season. I myself was more than happy with my performances, but just missing the varsity record in the 200 IM was a bit disappointing. However, it is a goal that motivates me to continue to work hard in practice.”

The previous day, Knapp and Kaefer each won the 400-yard individual relay, registering times of 4:04.10 and 4:35.84, respectively.

Fourth-year co-captain Caleb Treadwell also clocked in first in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 52.43.

On the first day of the tournament, Knapp and Kaefer began the weekend by earning gold in the 200-yard individual medley with times of 1:53.65 and 2:08.91, respectively. Kaefer just narrowly missed shattering the program record of 2:08.62 held by Yuka Suzuka (‘13) in 2012 by less than a second.

The Hawks’ next meet won’t come until the new year when they travel to SUNY Geneseo on Friday, Jan. 12 at 1 p.m. to take on the Red Dragons, followed by a home meet against Ramapo College at Elting Pool on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 1 p.m. The meet against Ramapo College will be the senior meet with many alumni present, Eickelberg said.

“This break will be important for the teams to clear their minds and rebound from any mistakes,” Eickelberg also said. “It’s a hard time as a coach [with all the time off] because you want to make sure you are doing the right things.”

Eickelberg added that they will also use this break to prepare for the second leg of the season.

“Physically, we have been strong, but intellectually and emotionally we haven’t raced as well as we have hoped,” he said. “Team wins are great, but individual improvements are important as well.”