Fairfield University’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams had two reasons to celebrate during their last home meet on Saturday. Not only did the men’s team score an impressive 149-111 win against New Jersey Institute of Technology, but the teams also honored their three senior Stags.
Senior swimming captains Cacky Keating and Paul Bimmler and diving captain Ryan Krebs have supported their teams throughout the season with commendable leadership.
Having coached Keating and Bimmler for the duration of their Fairfield athletic careers, Head Swim Coach Bill Farley reflected on their growth: “As athletes, they have progressed very well. As people, they have progressed tremendously,” he said. “They keep people in line and provide leadership in and out of the pool.”
Head Diving Coach Dan Vener, who coached Krebs over the past four years, says he has maintained a leadership role for his two final seasons as the sole upperclassman diver. “It will be hard to fill his shoes,” Vener said. “I will miss his dependability and his good attitude.”
Junior swimmer Suzy Lawlor said imagining a team without the three seniors is difficult.
“They’re there for us if we need advice on how to swim something or how we should attack something,” she said about the captains.
“They always pay attention to our races and know our goals and help us reach them.”
Looking back on the season, Keating, who holds all four Fairfield women’s butterfly records, sees great athletic potential in the swim team, specifically the underclassmen.
“It’s cool to see my name on the board, I like that, but I obviously want the team to improve,” Keating said. “It is so good to see that each year the team gets faster,” she said.
Keating is the only senior on the women’s squad. She noted the help she received from junior teammates, saying that her favorite part of swimming was the team-effort mentality. “I love swimming relays when I have three teammates I can count on and who can count on me – especially if you get a win out if it,” she said.
Similarly, Krebs will miss the team dynamic most. “Over the past three years with the juniors, they have become my closest friends,” he said.
But Krebs, who is ranked as one of Fairfield’s top-10 all-time divers on both the 1-meter and 3-meter, has confidence in the future of the team. “I have set a precedent and a legacy for the divers to be motivated and to want to win and want more in the sport,” he said.
Fostering not only Krebs’s but the team’s motivation are the MAAC Championships. Both swimming and diving teams have trained for four and a half months in preparation for their meets in Buffalo in two weeks, including their yearly training trip they take to Hawaii during winter break.
Bimmler, who was a part of the 200m medley relay that set a new program record on Saturday, said his favorite swimming memories have been each of the MAAC Championships. “Going to my last one will be pretty special, so I think it is going to mean the most,” he said.
“I’ve had a really up and down career here; the adversity I’ve had to face has molded me into a better person and made me a lot more mature,” Bimmler said. He holds two backstroke records and is part of nine relay records.
“Everything is a great memory,” Bimmler said.
He said he will even miss the morning practices, admitting, “I liked those once in a while.”