As both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams begin to make waves, roster depth is a positive indicator that neither team will be left on the standing’s shallow end this season.
The women’s team hopes to achieve a third consecutive winning season with a roster that will be “as strong or stronger in every area this year,” according to Head Coach Bill Farley, who begins his third season mentoring both the men and women.
The women’s team will be lead by Brittany Hunter ’07, who feels the 200-meter butterfly, 400-meter individual medley, and 500-meter freestyle are her best events.
The improvement of Kate Roche ’06 and Bridget McKeon ’06 last year in the distance freestyle will allow Hunter to concentrate more on speed events.
“Brittany is so important…she is the most versatile swimmer we have. Getting her out of the distance events, we’ll be able to use her in more events,” said Farley.
Hunter, who holds 11 individual school records, is very optimistic about the season’s possibilities.
“I think we can have a great year… [and] have a good shot at making it three-in-a-row,” she said. “We do have a small team, which makes it difficult to compete with some of the bigger teams. We have a tough schedule with opponents such as Yale, Marist, and Georgetown.”
Fairfield should be an aggressive competitor in the backstroke with record holders Erin Carrather ’08 in the 200-yard and Sarah Dent ’08 in the 200-meter.
Katharine Yee ’08, whose performance in the first two meets recently earned her MAAC Diver of the Week honors, will be the team’s top diver.
The women are 1-1 after losing to Providence (138-105) and drowning rival St. Peter’s (140-44). The men also broke even with a 123-113 loss and a 121.50-84.50 win over the same schools.
The men aspire to do just as well as the women with a roster of skilled newcomers, returnees, and a strong core of divers after losing only one swimmer to graduation last spring. Disregarding last season’s 3-7 record, Farley has “high hopes for this season’s squad.”
The men’s strongest event should be the backstroke, in which Rob Willhoit ’08 will attempt to self-destruct the records he has set in the 100- and 200-yard and meter distances.
Brian Lloyd ’08 and Matt McAndrew ’06 will add support in the event.
“Brian improved a lot last season, and Matt will give us some good depth,” said Farley, who also feels Fairfield record holders Raul Delgadillo ’06 and Sean Killelea ’06 will make the team very competitive in the individual medley.
The diving section returns all competitors from last season, including an accomplished Rob Penwell ’06, who looks to head back to the MAAC championships to surpass his fourth place overall finish last season. Russ Laub ’07 will show results befitting of his steady improvement.
“Its coming along well,” Laub said. Everyone on the team is improving.”
The men’s divers have proven to be more versatile than one might think.
In the Providence meet, they competed in a relay event and finished ahead of one of the opposing teams.
“It was awesome,” Diego Ibarra ’07 said of the unexpected finish.
Hunter believes the sport of swimming is unique for the fact that winning relies on an individual’s success in order to attain greater team success. Her feelings easily apply to both the men’s and women’s teams.
“One person does not make or break a team,” she said. “Everyone has to be working hard and doing their part. It is very important to be a well-rounded team.”
The Stags travel to Baltimore for a meet with Loyola and Georgetown Saturday afternoon.