The Bates Swim and Dive team competed in the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) meet this past weekend, marking the beginning of their championship season. The men and women both saw impressive time drops and dives, leading both teams to victory.
The WPI meet is the final meet for swimmers before their journey to the fast-approaching NESCAC Championships, but it also allows the team to get excited for the upcoming championship season as the WPI meet focuses on sprints such as 25 yard events rather than distance events, making for exciting, fast races.
The NESCAC swim teams have the shortest season in Division III for they start practicing Nov. 1, while other teams in the Division begin earlier. Though its a short time span, the team has grown close.
Captain Jem Bullock ‘20 noted that “As the season has progressed I have definitely seen an improvement in team chemistry. We also have created a wonderful team culture that definitely helped us during Colby-Bates-Bowdoin weekend,” a weekend that involves the Bates team facing both Colby and Bowdoin over the two day-period.
Over the course of the season there have been breakout performances from both first years and upper classmen. Bullock gave a shout out to Kyle Crans ’20: “He’s been on it all season and means so much to this team in and out of the pool.”
Andrew Hall ‘22 won the 100-yard IM in 52.40 seconds, breaking Bates’ previous record of 52.79 set by Alex Bedard ’19 in 2016. Hall also finished second in the 200-yard freestyle.
When asked who he thinks stands out in the team Hall said, “I believe that freshman Nate Berry ‘23 and Gabby Smart ‘23 stand out the most on the team thus far, and I can’t wait to see how they score at NESCACs.” Berry won the 25-yard freestyle and placed second in the 25-yard backstroke, and Smart won the 100-yard backstroke, the 200-yard IM, and the 200-yard freestyle this past weekend
Janika Ho ‘20 won the 50-yard backstroke and placed second in the 100 butterfly this weekend. She noted that “Catherine Peterson ‘21 has really had some breakout swims this year” and that she “can’t wait to see what happens when she rests.”
This year the women’s team also gained three divers including first-year Julia Bisson ‘23 who placed second out of 11 competitors in the 1-meter diving competition and third out of seven in the 3-meter diving. Also in diving, sophomore Osceola Heard won the 3-meter diving competition and placed second in the 1-meter.
Overall, the weekend showed just how much passion the Bates Swim and Dive team has, which is clear to everyone on the team with the energy and anticipation they have for NESCACs
Ho noted the depth that the team has and she thinks that “everyone is super excited to just see what happens. We have a lot of talent and a lot of depth this year, it has already been apparent. So I think that everyone is just really excited to see what happens when we taper and shave.”
Hall said that “The team is very excited for NESCACs. As for me, I am most definitely excited for the relays and I am sure other people would concur.”
Jack Johnson ‘22 said that he’s “looking forward to seeing some of our competition again.” The Bates Swim and Dive team have had many close and exciting meets this season. He says that “it will be fun to see these teams again when everybody is shaved and tapered. There will be some really great and fast competition. I love to see everybody swimming fast and supporting one another. There is so much energy at this meet and the team does a great job feeding off of each others electric energy and I think we can do something special.”
Bullock concurred and said that he’s also “looking forward to fast swimming” and that, “it’s always awesome seeing someone’s hard work being rewarded at the end of a long and grueling season.
The women will compete in the NESCAC Championships at Middlebury College from Feb.13-16, and the men will be at Williams College from Feb. 20-23