Swimming teams hit the pool on a wave of confidence
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The swimming and diving teams at Wright State may be the most successful athletics program, racking up 18 conference titles between the men and women. This year, Head Coach Sion Brinn’s teams want to restore that prominence.
“We have high expectations this year,” senior Adam Carnell said. “We’re a lot stronger than last year. We feel we can potentially win the conference.”
With the switch to semesters this year, practices began nearly two weeks earlier for the teams. For the Raiders, it meant more reps in the pool, which they hope will pay off during the conference championship.
“The coaches spent our first week really emphasizing our stroke work, trying to get it impeccable,” junior Tony Ventosa said.
Last season, the men’s team had no divers on the roster. As a result, WSU started meets approximately 30 points behind teams with divers. But with freshman diver Nathan Meyer on the team, WSU won’t be digging themselves out of quite as deep a hole for meets.
“He will definitely be a huge contributor to the team,” Ventosa said.
But the real strength of this year’s men’s squad could be the distance teams.
“Our distance team is straight out of control,” Ventosa said. “They are going to pull in points for sure.”
Expectations are also high for the women’s team, according to sophomore Marisa Melchior.
“We want to place in the top three for the conference,” Melchior said. “We want to have a better season to prepare us for the conference tournament.”
Preseason practices have focused on aerobic exercises and stroke work, emphasizing both strength and endurance.
“We’ve been running the stairs in the Nutter Center and doing a lot of cardio,” senior Makenzie Weldon, who holds the school record for the 100m breaststroke, said.
This year’s team features eight incoming freshmen, but Melchior doesn’t see that factor as a weakness.
“We have a large freshmen class, but they all add a little bit of everything,” Melchior said. “The improvements will come—it will just take time.”
“We’re pretty well rounded in all areas,” Weldon said. “I think we have one good swimmer in each event on the team.”
WSU is faced with a tough schedule this year, with road meets against the defending Horizon League champions (Milwaukee) on Oct. 26, Ohio State on Jan. 11 and Xavier on Feb. 2. The Raiders only have three home meets the entire year.
The Raiders’ first home meet is Saturday Oct. 13 against Illinois-Chicago. Other home meets include matchups with Oakland on Nov. 3 and Cincinnati on Feb. 9.
“It’s really challenging,” Weldon said. “There’s no free time. All we can do is swim.”
In terms of the winning tradition showcased on the banners in the WSU Natatorium, some athletes see it as something to reach for this year.
“Conference championships are always a big goal,” Weldon said. “You strive to get back to that and you strive to get better. Hopefully this year is a good start.”
“It’s definitely something that’s always been and always will be,” Carnell said.