Swimming and Diving Teams Looking Forward to NE-10 Championship


Photo from paceuathletics.com.

James Miranda, Sports Editor

The Northeast-10 (NE-10) swimming championship pits conference rivals against each other. This is the meet the teams have spent all year working towards.

“This is why we’ve been waking up at 7:30 in the morning everyday this past month, of being the only one’s on this campus, this is what we’ve been working for,” said Jakub Lewandowski, the men’s team captain. “This is your last chance this season to do well.”

The three-and-a-half day (February 4-7) championship is a preliminary final where Pace would have to place top-eight-out-of-16 in the morning in order to compete in the individual afternoon events. Finalists 16 to 8 would be team B and 8 to 1 would be team A, where team A competes for points. Team B is consolation races.

As far as the team’s performance in the championship, Head Coach Dan Allen doesn’t want to have a preconceived notion.

“[I see the championship] like doing your job, everyone’s got to do their part, there’s no one or two people that have to step up,” Allen said. “I can’t just have three or four of my best athletes doing their job while the other eight or nine do nothing.”

However, Lewandowski and Kaitlyn Siriano, women’s team captain, expect top-three and five finishes, respectively due to the immense talent of swimmers like Nianzhong Liu, Travis Monahan, Cassandra Muldoon, and Kaitlyn Fitzgerald.

“The team’s already broken a ton of records,” said Lewandowski, whose record for the mile (16.44) was beat two seconds earlier by freshman Dan Galarza. “Honestly, I think that entire record board is going to be different.”

The teams are currently in taper, a rest phase, to prepare for a meet. Swimmers have been going to sleep earlier, eating healthier, and mentally preparing themselves.

“Swimming is really mental,” Siriano said. “You have to be ready to race. If you think you’re going to swim slowly, then it’s going to [be the result]. When you’re swimming and you think negatively, it helps [you perform poorly].”

The attention to detail is manifest in their success. However, mentality is only a portion of preparation. Their hell week, which took place from January 18 to 23, pushed the teams to their limits physically.

Hell week is just the addition to a season of training.

The men’s (8-2, 2-1 NE-10) and women’s (7-5, 2-3 NE-10) teams have enjoyed much success during the regular season with a new and diverse roster on both sides.

The chemistry on both sides is the best it’s ever been.

“It used to be, you go to swim and do your own thing after,” said senior Marissa Mignano. “Now the team’s always together. Out of my four years here, I’ve never seen the swim [teams] so determined to win.”

That chemistry and hard work throughout the season has produced an extreme level of confidence that has most of them believing they’ll be able to take on and beat their rivals.

“[On the women’s side, I’d have to say] Assumption [College], Bentley [University], and Southern Connecticut [State University] are great teams because they have great swimmers in each of the events,” said freshman Anna Lee. “But we wouldn’t mind taking them.”

Last year, the women’s placed 5/9 in the NE-10 championships while the men placed 7/7.

According to Lewandowski, last season was “embarrassing” and the men’s team has a real underdog mentality going into every meet this season.

This season, the men have beaten teams they “weren’t supposed to beat” such as they’re rival Southern Connecticut University at the ECAC Championships in December.

“We just want to prove everyone wrong because we’ve never been taken seriously,” Lewandowski said. “We really want to win, that’s all we want. We want to be the team at Pace that wins.”