With a large women’s team and a notably smaller men’s team, the Maroons look ahead for the different types of challenges they will face in the New Year. The women’s team successfully recruited eight new members, while the men’s team only brought in five.
“The women’s team got a large and talented class, so this year’s team is definitely the deepest and most talented in the team’s history,” said head coach Jason Weber.
Conversely, Weber noted that, “The men’s team didn’t bring in a big class, and a large group of the returning swimmers decided not to be a part of the team this year. So the men’s team is much smaller this year and will have some issues in depth, which used to be one of their strengths the past few years.”
Some of the new female swimmers to watch for will be first-years Vivian Yuen from Cupertino, CA, and Ashley Grimes from Naples, FL. Yuen showed her strength at the Phoenix Fall Classic where she made the national provisional standard in the 200-meter backstroke with a time of 2:06.15. Grimes placed third in the three meter-diving event and second in the one meter-diving event at the Phoenix Fall Classic.
On the men’s side, Weber looked to first-year Eric Hallman from Oak Park, IL, to fulfill his exciting potential. Hallman swims the free and fly events and has consistently garnered top honors at this year’s meets against Wash U and Wheaton.
Exciting meets this winter should be against both Kalamazoo and DePauw, which are ranked fifth and 18th respectively. Chicago is ranked 21st.
“These meets are always close,” said Weber, adding that, “Our toughest competition, outside of the UAA Conference Championships, will be UW—Milwaukee since they are a D-I team and have beaten us pretty bad the last couple years.”
Both teams will face new challenges: The men have a significantly smaller team, and the women must be able to use their new talent to the best of their ability, avoiding injuries.
Yet Weber remains impressed by the strength of both teams, citing the women to have “depth, talent, confidence, and energy” and the men to have “competitiveness, toughness, and determination.”
“[The men] are a tough team who will compete hard until the very end. They know they will be underdogs at most meets due to their lack of depth, but that only motivates them more,” said Weber.