The beginning of the season won’t be easy for Chicago, as they face their biggest rival, Wash U, at the Myers-McLoraine pool this Saturday.
According to Head Coach Jason Weber, “This meet is our first real test of the season. Wash U is our biggest rival and one of the best teams in D-III. Our men lost by a wide margin last year, while our women barely pulled out a win.”
Third-year swimmer Katherine Crain acknowledges the challenge that awaits the teams. “It will be one of our more difficult meets of the year, and we have been anticipating that Wash U will bring their best.”
Despite last year’s results, Weber is still confident in his team—and for good reason. “The times that we have posted in our first two meets are way ahead of where we were last year,” he said.
It doesn’t hurt that the teams have been victorious in their first two meets, either.
“We are training very hard. Our swimmers and divers are putting in long hours, and we are seeing some great results. The men’s and women’s teams have won both of our meets so far this season,” said Assistant Coach Krista Carlson.
Perhaps these victories are also due to the influx of a large group of first-year swimmers and divers. “With five male divers, including three first-years, diving on our men’s side will probably be our strongest event,” said Weber.
Carlson also commented on the first-year class: “They are already making a huge impact for us.”
The coaches are not the only ones diving into the meet with confidence. “The whole team is very excited. We’re looking forward to having some fast swims and getting a big win over WashU,” said first-year Robby Kunkel.
Coaches, swimmers, and divers alike see the meet as an opportunity to pave the way for victories in the Maroons’ swimming and diving meets to come, especially in the major UAA conference in February.
“I expect to win this meet in dominating fashion. Wash U is one of our biggest rivals, so our team is very excited to race them. It’s a great opportunity for us to put up fast times,” fourth-year men’s swimmer Marius Aleksa said. “It will also let the rest of the UAA conference know that we have the ‘refuse to lose’ mentality that will push us over the edge. We have high goals this year, and we won’t let anything get in our way, especially Wash U.”
For the rest of the season, Weber said, “I see the women closing the gap on Emory at the UAA conference and breaking into the top-20 at NCAA Championships. I see the men placing second at conference for the first time ever, and possibly scoring as high as top-15 at NCAA Championships!”