The Case Western Reserve University swimming and diving teams came out firing on all cylinders this season as the men beat John Carroll University (JCU) 211.5-76.5, and the women beat JCU 215-76 in the first dual meet for each team. This first meet allowed the Spartans to shake some of the rust from their offseason, but it also displayed their strength they hope to rely on for a successful season.
Head Coach Doug Milliken was very pleased with the way his teams came out of the gate this season.
“I was very pleased with our first meet,” Milliken said. “I felt the team really showed up to compete.”
The first meet is also a chance to see some new faces competing for the Spartans for the first time. The men’s team has 15 first-year students on their roster while the women’s team has six.
Milliken was very pleased with all of his young swimmers’ efforts on both the men’s and the women’s side.
“In terms of first-years, really all the women [impressed me],” he said. “They almost all either won or [were the] runner-up, but they all contributed … For the men, it was similar. A lot contributed and won events.”
Several veterans had good showings to start off the season, either picking off right where they left off or showing improvement from last year.
Some veterans impressed Milliken in particular.
“For the women, Suhan Mestha, Monica Khare [and] Olivia Picchione are names that stand out,” he said. “For the men, John Tomko, Aaron Pang and Keith Erichsen showed me some things at this meet.”
Moving forward, the Spartans face a major test early in the season as they face off against fellow University Athletic Association rival Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) next week in Pittsburgh.
Despite the Spartans’ strong opener, Milliken knows that CMU will be a much greater challenge.
“I really want to use this meet as a stepping stone,” he said. “We have a very tough meet at Carnegie Mellon this upcoming weekend, and we will have to swim even better to have a shot against them.”
However, Milliken is urging his team to simply stay focused and trust the process. He realizes that it is a long season and that things can change quickly
“It’s all about staying positive, working hard, and keeping everything in perspective,” he said. “It’s a very long season and we are just getting started. A lot can happen along the way.”