First Year Swimmers Make a Splash
By Elizabeth Kilgallin
With nine new swimmers, Sweet Briar’s pool is now over-flowing with new talent. The upcoming 2012-2013 swim season will see the largest freshmen class enter the pool since Jason Gallaher became Head Swim Coach four years ago. After Charlotte Greenwood, Brittany Fox, and Emily Jones graduated in May of 2012, the team was left with only eleven returning swimmers, the lowest amount that Gallaher has experienced as head coach. According to Gallaher, “this presented a huge challenge to the team and made the recruitment process more vigorous.” The large group of freshmen that joined the team this season has made the loss of these three standout swimmers more bearable.
During the first week of practice, Gallaher said that the first years “Are all…very eager to be a part of this positive program. They fit in well with our returning swimmers and they will add a great deal of strength and depth to the team. I’m looking forward to working with this group over the next four years.” With a team now made up of twenty strong swimmers, the veterans of the team, the coaches, and the first years all share high hopes and expectations for this season. One goal for this season is to beat Bridgewater, Sweet Briar’s closest rival in their conference. Last season, Bridgewater dominated Sweet Briar in the duel meet but Sweet Briar retaliated by beating them in the ODAC Conference Championships. Sweet Briar alum and recent Sweet Swimming graduate Charlotte Greenwood said, “losing the dual meet to Bridgewater was tough. I hope the new recruits will help defeat them this upcoming season.” Returning swimmer Vida McCahey said “I cannot wait to get back in shape to help the team defeat Bridgewater like last season. Hopefully this time we will also win the duel meet.”
First years hope to help the alum and veteran swimmers achieve this goal. One such freshman is Lydia Fleck. Fleck has been swimming since she was only eight years old and has been swimming on a Club Team since she was ten years old. She is an accomplished swimmer and led her high school swim team as captain. As captain, Fleck successfully brought her team to the states championships. When asked about this upcoming season, Fleck stated, “The girls on the team have all been welcoming to us [first years], making it feel like a whole other family. It’s going to be a really good year.”
Junior swimmer Bridget McGinley’s career is very similar to Fleck’s. McGinley has been swimming competitively since she was six and swimming for her club team since she was nine. McGinley was also a co-captain of her high school swim team. She led their team to National Catholics, the highest level of competition for Catholic schools on the East Coast. When asked about her new teammates, McGinley said “Even though the pool is more crowded than usual, it’s comforting to know that it is full of new potential for Sweet Swimming.”
Catherine Gumpman is a Sweet Briar College swimming alum, the Assistant Director of Admissions at the College, and the assistant swim coach. Gumpman began her service as assistant coach last year. She is loved by the swimmers for her “humor and encouragement throughout the many tough practices and meets of the swim season,” according to McCahey. Gumpman said that she is “thrilled to have such a large group of swimmers representing the class of 2016. I’ve been very impressed with them thus far, and I’m excited to start working with them in the pool. They are going to add a lot of strength and depth to an already strong program.” When asked about the reason for her positive impression of these swimmers so early in the season, she said, “The beginning of the swim season is always difficult. Getting back in shape after the summer can be very tough. These first years are positive and all-smiles even during difficult workouts.”
To see Sweet Swimming in action, check the schedule of meets online: