The women’s swim and dive squad improved to .500 this season in dual meets, while the men’s team fell to 2-10 in duals as both teams closed out the regular season last weekend against the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
Before the meet, Wesleyan honored its four seniors who will graduate this May: Alyssa Savarino, Roxy Capron, Kate Uthe, and Russell Madison. Savarino and Uthe have spent four years in the program, while Capron and Madison have both been with WeSwim for three years.
Capron was particularly excited about the closing weeks of the season, during which her team took wins in three of four head-to-heads. She chalks the success up to increased dedication from the team to practices.
“Our winter training attendance is nearly 100 percent, up from 80 percent at the end of the last semester,” Capron said. “And it doesn’t hurt that we’ve had a home-pool advantage these last three meets. It’s so encouraging to see our friends and family in the stands.”
Up first were the 200 medley relays, which saw both the men and women take two of the top three spots, giving Wesleyan an early lead on both sides; the women later won the freestyle relay as well.
The freestyle foursome highlighted the promise of success in both the near and distant future on the women’s side, with grizzled veterans Savarino and Capron swimming the first two legs and newcomers Anna Lu ’17 and Serena Zalkowitz ’17 closing out the race for a win.
Lu then won the women’s 1000-yard race and finished second in the 500 free, while Zalkowitz won the 50-yard sprint and was second in the 100-yard freestyle.
With Capron, typically a breaststroker, swimming outside her usual program, Rachel Hirsch ’15 and Erin Cohn ’15 were big winners against the weak Coast Guard breaststrokers. The pair of juniors finished one-two in both the 100- and 200-yard breast.
Angela Slevin ’15 earned points in all three of her individual events, taking the top spot in the 200 and 500 freestyles before finishing second, 0.3 seconds out of first place, in the 200-yard medley. Alexa Burzinski ’15 continued her hot streak as well, taking second in both the 100 and 200 butterflies.
Wesleyan also flexed its muscles in the backstroke events, with Liz Baumgartner ’15, Amanda Distler ’15, and Liyan Yao ’16 taking three of the top four spots in the 100-yard race and Wes sweeping the top four in the 200, with Martha Smith ’17 rounding out the group.
Jimmy Gaston ’15 and Billy Hepner ’16 led the efforts for the Cardinal men. Gaston had a five-second margin of victory in the 100-yard freestyle and then matched that margin in the 500 free and picked up a third win in the 200-yard butterfly. Spencer Daus-Haberle ’17 proved his endurance in the 1000 free as well, finishing second behind the Wes junior.
Hepner took the crown in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events before finishing second in the 200-yard individual medley, a second away from first place. Nate Courville ’17 proved his consistency as well, grabbing second place in both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke.
Though this was the final regular season meet for the Cardinals, they hope they are far from finished. They started their taper last week in preparation for NESCACs during Valentine’s Day weekend in Williamstown, Mass.
Women’s Co-Captain Capron thinks that the Cards are hitting their stride at the right time.
“I’m excited to be going faster than I was this time last year, and I’m overjoyed that nearly every swimmer has achieved multiple season-best times these past two weeks,” she said. “After these past few meets, I’m even more determined to go out with a bang at NESCACs.”
As for her own goals in the next two weeks, she is focusing specifically on a few aspects of her game going into conference championships, as well as some team strategy for performing at an elite level.
“We are working on feeling good, physically and mentally—let our muscles heal, sleep more, clean up our starts and turns, and get in the mindset of championship season,” said Capron. “Personally, I am focusing on the pacing strategy of my 200 breaststroke.”
She also focused on what has certainly emerged as a theme throughout the year, dating back to the season-opening weekend with Head Coach Peter Solomon in November: improving on the past.
“As a team, we are hoping to climb up the NESCAC ladder and beat last year’s eighth-place finish,” Capron reiterated. “We’re all striving for personal progress; girls who didn’t place at NESCACs last year will try to accomplish that this season; those who made finals are looking to qualify for Nationals. Wes has not had a swimmer at nationals in seven years or so. We are definitely looking to reestablish our team on the national level.”