Women’s Swimming & Diving 2017-18 Season Preview

Photo courtesy of Ronald Wimer P '19
Photo courtesy of Ronald Wimer P '19

2017-18 SEASON OUTLOOK

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Expectations are high for the Wesleyan University women's swimming & diving team heading into the 2017-18 season, as the Cardinals made huge strides forward during the 2016-17 campaign, including grabbing seventh-place honors at the 2017 NESCAC Championships.

Sixth-year head coach Peter Solomon guided the Cardinals to a 7-6 record in dual-meet action last winter, and then he earned 2017 NESCAC Women's Coach of the Year honors. During his 23-year career in the NESCAC, he has been recognized with the award eight times between the men's and women's sides. Wesleyan also returns a pair of talented assistant coaches in Devon O'Nalty and Ethan Cooke.

< COACHES CORNER WITH PETER SOLOMON >

Sophomores Caroline Murphy and Hannah O'Halloran were nothing short of sensational during their rookie seasons, as the standout swimmers qualified for the 2017 NCAA Division III Championships at the Conroe ISD Natatorium in Shenandoah, Texas.

Murphy garnered 2017 All-NESCAC Team acknowledgement and honorable mention All-American recognition on the national stage with a 13th-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke. O'Halloran also rose to the occasion during the high-end meet by earning honorable mention All-American accolades with a 16th-place performance in the 200 backstroke.

During the 2017 conference championships at Bowdoin, the Cardinals registered their best finish since 2008, while shattering 10 program records. Murphy became Wesleyan's first-ever NESCAC champion, touching the wall first during the 50 backstroke. The team compiled 10 top-eight finishes, and Murphy also came through with a runner-up performance in the 100 backstroke.

Senior Zoe Kerrich took home fourth-place honors in the 100 breaststroke, while junior Maela Whitcomb and O'Halloran placed seventh overall during the 1,000 freestyle and 200 backstroke, respectively. Additionally, the Cardinals finished in the top-eight during five relay events.

The 2017-18 journey will begin on Saturday against Bates and Trinity (Conn.) in Lewiston, Maine, and the squad will host its home opener on Monday against Amherst. The Cardinals will host seven meets, as the squad will be well prepared for the 2018 NESCAC Championships on Feb. 16-18 at Williams.

The Cardinals will turn to a group of four outstanding senior captains in Lauren Conte, Kerrich, Emily Kessler and Corinne Noonan. These dedicated swimmers have represented the institution in the best possible ways in and out of the water, while being role models in the classroom and practice.

The four women were a major reason behind the Cardinals receiving College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-America Team recognition last winter. Personally, Kerrich earned CSCAA Scholar Honorable Mention All-American recognition for the second time in 2017.

"From the second this class stepped on campus, it has infused our program with its amazing attitude and work ethic," Solomon said. "The group's dedication has been incredibly contagious, and it continues to set the bar when it comes to exemplifying what it means to be a Wesleyan student-athlete and good teammate."

MEET THE TEAM

  • The Cardinals return 18 swimmers from the 2016-17 squad, including the four senior captains, juniors Erin Angell, Sophia Antonio, Devon Cooper, Julia Dietz, Kylie Han, Whitcomb and Bella Wiener, and sophomores Alex Berger, Alexa Code, Leah Cravitz, Grace Middleton, Murphy, O'Halloran and Anastasia Saar. Wesleyan is thrilled to welcome four newcomers to the swimming & diving family, featuring rookies Zoe Darmon, Sarah Goldman, Lauren Peretz and Nicole Veru.
  • Saar and Han placed 17th and 22nd overall, respectively, in the 50 breaststroke at the conference meet, while Code compiled a trio of noteworthy performances on the big stage, placing 15th overall in the 50 backstroke, 17th in the 100 backstroke and 19th in the 200 backstroke.
  • Antonio was the 20th swimmer to touch the wall in the 50 freestyle and the 22nd-place finisher in the 50 backstroke, while Dietz finished 13th in the 100 backstroke, 16th in the 50 backstroke and 18th in the 200 backstroke.
  • Cravitz earned 18th-place recognition in the 100 butterfly, and Middleton swam a superb race in the 100 freestyle, taking home 18th-place acknowledgement.
  • Also at the NESCAC Championships, Berger posted a season-best time of 26.22 during the preliminaries of the 50 freestyle, while Angell posted marks of 351.55 and 321.10 during the preliminaries of the 1- and 3-meter diving events, respectively. Cooper grabbed ninth-place honors off the 1- and 3-meter boards, with marks of 368.80 and 354.35, respectively, in the preliminary round. Wiener set a personal record with a strong performance in the preliminaries of the 100 backstroke, boasting a time of 1:02.33

HEAD COACH PETER SOLOMON

"I could not be more excited about this year's team. We have a very special group of seniors, who have played a major role in improving the team culture, as well as the program's recent climb in the NESCAC rankings. If I have learned anything in my 23 years as a head coach; it is that the best years are the ones when the senior leadership is in place. Everything seems to fall into place when we have a dedicated and enthusiastic group of seniors, like we have in The Class of 2018."