By Kirti Chakote
The Union Men and Women’s Swimming teams are now preparing for another long 21-week season. They are developing their minds and bodies for a sport that requires a grueling amount of endurance.
To do so, they have lift three days a week from 6 to 7:30 in the morning, and then swim for half an hour afterward. Every day, they have swim practice for two hours from 4 to 6 p.m.
The teams have began training with a determined mindset to finish stronger than their fifth place conclusion last season at UNYSCSA/EMPIRE 8 championships (States).
The women’s team is made up of 18 swimmers, with six new first-years. The captains are seniors middle distance breaststroke swimmer Rachel Clegg and long distance freestyle swimmer Madeline Ashworth.
“What we have lacked in years past is a freshmen class that comes in really motivated and ready to tackle the season,” said Clegg. “It’s different this year. We have a bigger team [than the 11 swimmers last year], and the added talent is eager to start swimming.”
The men’s team is made up of 22 swimmers, with seven new first-years.
The team’s captains are senior middle distance butterfly swimmer David Wood ‘14 and senior short distance freestyle swimmer Billy Phillips ‘14.
“I think this year we have a great shot at competing well in States,” said Wood. “We have the numbers and the talent to do well. We just have to put in the work.”
The team has a new workout regimen, improved from last season. Every summer, Coach Scott Felix, who is entering his 13th season, does an extensive amount of research to provide his athletes with the best workouts possible.
This year he has been incorporating explosive sandbag workouts, core wheels and other medicine ball exercises.
Some other notable swimmers on the men’s team include senior long-distance freestyler, Adam Herzog ‘14, who finished last season ranked top 30 in the country in the one-mile swim event.
Middle distance butterfly swimmer Zack Wahl ‘14, set the school record for the 800 yard fly.
Middle distance backstroke swimmer Andrew Welch ‘15, holds the school record for the 100 yard backstroke.
On the women’s team, there is long distance freestyle swimmer, Anne Trojanowksi ‘14, who was the winner of three “Liberty League top performer of the week” awards last season and was the record-setting state champion in the 1,650 yard freestyle her freshman year.
According to the teams’ coach, all of these swimmers already have or will certainly compete at nationals sometime during their swimming career at Union.
The season officially begins on Nov. 16 in a meet against Amherst College.
Although meets are important for the team and serve as periodic gauges for how much they are improving during its long season, the team’s true goal is to dominate at States in February.
With a revamped workout regimen and a strong group of first-years led by a focus group of seniors, the team’s potential for this season is great.
“This year we have a bunch of blue collar swimmers who are willing to get after it,” said Felix. “Just like 11 of my past 12 seasons, I am sure, with this team’s drive, we will have swimmers who will place high at states and move on to nationals.”