Men’s Swim and Dive – STOCK UP
Last year’s men’s swim and dive team finished fifth in the NESCAC, tied for the team’s best ever finish at the conference meet. This year they are intent on improving that mark, with their eyes set on sending a strong contingent of swimmers to the national meet as well.
“On the men’s side our depth and talent could be the strongest we have ever had,” said head coach Peter Casares, who is in his 9th year as Bates’ aquatics director. “We have many great leaders in the senior class, led by our three captains Dan Walpole, Jack Dina, and Josh Rines. All three are poised for breakout seasons and can give both the NESCAC Championship and national meets a real run.” These senior leaders are backed by a solid junior class of swimmers that include All-Americans Teddy Pender ‘18 and Riley Ewing ‘18, who are poised to make return trips to the national meet this year. While these individual swimmers will standout during the upcoming season, the men’s team is not featuring any divers this year. This challenge won’t pose any problems for the team’s individual and relay efforts in the pool, but could hurt them during the regular season in meets that are scored based on total team points.
“The ability to endure and reach peak performance is truly the ultimate in college swimming,” said Casares. This is the challenge for any swim team, to match up the ultimate meet of the season with their window of peak performance, and it will be the challenge this team will have to rise up to this year.
Look for this year’s squad to finish in the top four of the NESCAC, break several team and pool records, and send a strong, if small, contingent of swimmers to the national meet.
Women’s Swim and Dive – STOCK UP
Bates’ women’s swim and dive team is in many ways the crowning jewel of Bates athletics. The last two years they have finished second and third in the NESCAC, and are expected to finish near, if not at, the top again this year. “After seeing the team train and compete this first month, I have some big goals for this group that I think can happen,” said Casares. “I know we have the talent, they just need to make sure they stay healthy and peak at the right moment.”
This year’s team is returning eight All-American swimmers, including star, Sara Daher ‘17, who finished second in the country last year in the 200-medley. Daher, who has amassed 17 All-American honors in her illustrious career, led a group of nine swimmers to the national meet last year where Bates finished 12th overall. But Casares thinks this year’s group, if anything is marked by its depth. “Breakout performances and national level swims exist in all 25 women – we’ve simply never had this balance and depth among all four classes before,” he said.
Peaking at the right time is key for a perennially competitive team like this one, but balancing that approach with performing well at both the NESCAC meet and the subsequent national meet, can prove challenging. “Can we be fully invested in an amazing NESCAC champs experience while balancing our National meet goals… sacrificing neither and embracing both?” he queried. It will certainly be a challenge, but if any team can do it, this one can.
The women’s diving squad will be led by Emma Jarczyk ‘17, a three time all-NESCAC diver, and three-time regionals competitor, hoping to get over the hump and make her debut at the national meet this year. The divers will be instrumental for the team as a whole, tallying a lot of points throughout the season. This year’s team, hard as it might be to do, will improve on last years showing. Look for them to top the NESCAC at the conference meet this year, and crack the top ten at nationals.