After a fourth and fifth place finish at the NEWMAC Championship meet last season, the men and women’s swim team have started off their 2018 campaign with three of the four NEWMAC weekly swimming and diving honors going to Springfield athletes. One of the most noticeable changes from this season to last season is the amount of male swimmers on the team.
Last year the men’s team only had 14 swimmers and half of them were either freshmen or sophomores. This season the men’s team has 19 swimmers but now 13 of the swimmers are underclassman.
“The men are pretty young but there is some definite and promising talent in the freshman class,” said head coach John Taffe. “But they definitely still need time to develop and learn. I think in the long run they will have a big impact on what we are able to accomplish this year.”
The women’s team on the other hand has dropped in the amount of swimmers and divers. Last season the team had 32 athletes on their team, this season there is 24. However the women’s team has people spread out between all four years, so there are more athletes ready to take on leadership roles. Even though the team has less swimmers this year, they have more depth. More athletes are able to swim different events than in years past.
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Delany Dyjak is one of the Pride’s top returners this season. Last season Dyjak was injured and could not compete but this season she has already had a strong start. Against URI and Coast Guard, Dyjak was able to notch two first place finishes in the 50 free and the 100 fly. Dyjak also took a close second in the 100 freestyle.
“She’s stepped into a big leadership role besides the fact that she is very talented. It’s nice for her to be recognized and she has picked up right where she left off,” said Taffe
Senior Kent Parson will have a big impact on the men’s team this season. Parson is one of four returning seniors this season. He will have to play a role in trying to lead the younger members of the team. On top of being a leader Parson will also be one of the best returning swimmers. Last year Parson finished third in the 100 yard breaststroke at the conference meet. In the season opener against Coast Guard, Parson took first in the 200 IM, second in the 100 freestyle and third in the 100 breaststroke.
The Pride is going to have to work hard this season to standout in the conference. With MIT being nationally ranked on both the men and women’s side, Springfield is going to have some tough conference meets. The Pride also have some of their top swimmers not returning.
On the women’s side, All-American Emily Medeiros will leave a big spot for Springfield to try and fill. In all four years of her career Medeiros competed on the national stage at the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships. Medeiros not only holds the Springfield College 100 and 200 breaststroke record, but also the NEWMAC record.
“Fortunately the events that Emily swam had several other [Springfield swimmers] close by, but never really talked about that much,” said Taffe. Christine Shea, who finished fourth last year at the NEWMAC meet, was always right behind Medeiros. Even with Medeiros gone the Pride still has Shea, Dyjak and Olivia Paione all returning, so the women’s team can be even stronger this season.
Once the men’s team gets further into the year their season will really start to improve. With so many young swimmers on the team the first couple of meets can be hard to get used to, but by the end of the season they will be a lot stronger than they have been in the past.