Swimming and diving wraps up winning semester

Riley Simko, Staff Reporter

The Case Western Reserve University swimming and diving teams have made a splash so far this season. Both the women’s and men’s teams have won five out of their six meets in the current season.

Most recently, the teams swept a quad meet at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. The men’s team defeated Gannon University (169-126), Grove City College (198-102) and the University of Rochester (187-111). The Spartan women also dominated at the meet, winning against Gannon (217-78), Grove City (232-68) and Rochester (165-135).

As their fall semester winds down, the athletes reminisced on their favorite memories and accomplishments this season.

Kelsey Holmberg, a fourth-year freestyle and fly competitor as well as University Athletic Association-All Academic recognized athlete, reflected on the hours of hard work that the team has put in this season and also the hours of fun team bonding.

Regarding the quad meet at Rochester, Holmberg said, “It was a long road trip for us, but travelling as a team is always fun. We watch movies on the bus, so this past trip we watched ‘Remember the Titans’ and ‘Miracle.’”

Sophia Vaccaro, a second-year distance freestyle and fly swimmer, also recalled the Rochester trip as a highlight of the season. After watching “Remember the Titans” as a team, the Spartans made up their own cheer based on the movie. Remembering it as one of her favorite cheers of the season, Vaccaro said, “That cheer really got our team hyped up and loose and ready to swim.”

For Will McDonald, a second-year backstroke competitor, his proudest moment came during the Oct. 20 meet against John Carroll University (JCU).

“JCU was really hyped up and were dead set on beating us,” McDonald recalled, “so it was nice to see us as a team rally around our swimmers and put the effort in to beat them.”

The JCU meet was the Spartans’ first meet and first win of the year, a victory which McDonald credits for setting a positive tone for their triumphs the rest of the fall semester.

But the Spartans aren’t finished yet. The swimming and diving teams are still looking to earn another win this weekend at the Ellen Shapiro Natatorium for the Wooster College Invitational.

“Heading into Wooster this week, we are excited to compete at a high level,” Holmberg said. “Our team has done really well at the Wooster Invite in the past, and we hope to continue that this year.”

In order to prepare for these competitive meets, Vaccaro says the team follows a rigorous practice schedule which includes “swimming for two hours a day and then also doing either a dry land or weightlifting exercise for an additional hour each day.”

The athletes’ hard work each day is specialized to train them for specific competitive events. These workouts are crafted by Head Coach Doug Milliken, Assistant Coaches Anne Tillie and Kristy Miller and Diving Coach Matt O’Neill.

The Wooster Invitational is the Spartans’ last meet of the fall semester, but their season will continue through winter break and into the spring semester. The teams will keep up a rigorous practice schedule until the end of the semester and then embark on their annual training trip to Florida during the break.