By Shawn McFarland
Following an impressive 9-4 regular season meet record which saw the Springfield College women’s swimming and diving team finish second at the NEWMAC Championships, the women were back in the water this past weekend looking to build off of last year’s momentum.
At the Ed and Judy Golden Invitational in Kingston, Rhode Island on Saturday, the Pride started their season off by splitting two meets against URI and Coast Guard, losing 174-11 and winning 166.5-131.5, respectively.
“It was great to be back in the pool,” senior Emily Medeiros said. “We were up against two difficult opponents and the team did really well. We definitely have a lot of things to work on, and a long way to go for the season but I think it was off to a great start. We can only build from here.”
Medeiros opened up her final season with the Pride with a win in the 200 breaststroke, with a time of 2 minutes, 28 seconds. Along with Haley Nolan, Christine Shea and Olivia Paione, Medeiros raced to a second-place finish in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:56.02.
Though for Medeiros, she isn’t close to where she wants to be physically.
“I personally felt a little bit off this past weekend,” she said. “Looking back at my times from this meet last year I am close but not quite where I was this time last year. I’m excited for or meet at MIT this Sunday and any other opportunity I have to compete, improve, and get back to where I want to be with my times.”
Before Medeiros even hit the pool this season competitively, she had already racked up national acclaim. She was named a Preseason Division III All-American by CollegeSwimming.com.
“I was very excited to receive that honor. I had actually never heard of it before so I was really surprised,” Medeiros said. “ It didn’t put pressure on me, but when I saw that I became excited for championship season. All I want to do this year is swim personal best times and improve upon how I did last year. If I do that, I will be satisfied, but still sad, with my swimming career coming to an end.”
While the women are looking to improve on their 2015-16 season, the men are trying to regain their footing after going just 1-11 last season. Like the women, they opened with a split this past Saturday at the same meet. The Pride eliminated URI 214-50, but fell to Coast Guard 165-114.
“It felt awesome to be back in the water with my teammates,” said junior Austin Von Heeringen. “We had great energy during the meet and I think that is what will ultimately help our team to thrive this season. We have been putting in a lot of work since the official start of the season in September and it was definitely nice to get some races in and see where we are at as a team.”
Von Heeringen won the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:59.85, and took second in the 100 back at 55.11. Kent Parsons finished second in the 200 freestyle.
The junior added that the goal heading forward is simple: just slowly improving.
“I think the most important team goal we have this season is self improvement. Although swimming is a team sport, there are a lot of individual moving parts that make a team successful. For us, this season is about working to be better than you were before, no matter how much effort it takes, and then giving everything we have got when it comes time for NEWMACs.”