By Lila Epstein ’14, Senior Editor
This Winter break, both the men’s and women’s swimming teams spent nine days training in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to prepare for their upcoming season.
According to Nancy Presnick ’14, co-captain of the women’s team, the training trip included challenging swimming, running, and lifting workouts. In addition, the team mixed it up with activities, such as an open-water swim.
“[The open-water swim] was really different — -the water was really rough, there were powerful waves, and Portuguese man of wars, which made the race intense but it was also fun, especially working together to get through it,” said Alexia Tomlinson ’14, women’s co-captain. The race was a mile long and some swimmers were even stung by Portuguese man of wars, which are sea creatures often compared to jellyfish. However, according to Presnick, those who were stung still finished the race.
All of the captains agreed the training trip was successful not only in terms of athletics but also as a bonding experience.
“I think accomplishing something as physically and mentally challenging as a training trip really brought everyone together, but also we got to do a lot of fun things other than swimming like hanging out on the beach, bowling, and competing in an open-water mile competition,” said Jin Hwang, men’s tri-captain.
The training trip has propelled both teams into their Spring season.
“The scond semester is definitely when we are in the thick of it,” said Tim Landon ’14, men’s tri-captain. “We have five dual meets left and they are all against pretty competitive teams. We have championships so this is definitely our busiest time of year.”
The captains are optimistic about the season and cite the team’s cooperative efforts, young talent, and work ethic as reasons for their anticipated success.
“With an amazing freshman class led by strong returning sophomores, juniors, and seniors, we’ve really seen great team dynamics and unity, which are crucial to our success at championships in February,” Presnick said.
John Zipp ’14, men’s tri-captain, added that the men’s team is also determined to exceed expectations this season,
especially in the conference champions. He explained how, when he arrived as a freshman, the Diplomats were defending champions, but after losing his freshman and sophomore year, they were seeded fifth. This ranking left the team determined to excel, and they finished third in championships.
“This year we are seeded fourth, and once again we are going to prove the conference wrong and show we deserve to be up there with the leaders,” Zipp said. “I think we have a chance at proving this is our conference and we are going to fight until we get it.”
Zipp and Landon noted that the abilities of the teams of the conference have increased since they arrived at F&M.
“The conference has gone from being a low-key conference to being a very competitive conference, so every year we have been here we’ve been working harder and harder to keep up with that trend,” Landon said. It’s become an atmosphere of competitiveness but at the same time of sportsmanship.”
According to Landon, the relationships among teams in the conference have become friendlier over the years and they are very friendly on deck with all teams, including Gettysburg, their biggest rival.
On Saturday Jan. 18, both teams competed in a meet against Susquehanna University.
“We had some great swims by both the men and women’s teams, which is exciting at a time where we’re doing so much work in the pool during the week,” Presnick said. “It was also Susquehanna’s senior day, so they certainly came prepared and fired up.”
At the end of the meet, the women’s team won 147-115 and the men’s team lost 164-98. The women are still undefeated in conference and the men have only lost one conference meet to Washington College.
Presnick is looking forward to the team’s many upcoming meets.
“We’ll certainly be tested in our upcoming dual meets, especially by Ursinus, who emerged last year with a really strong women’s team, and Dickinson, which is our senior meet,” Presnick said. “As a senior facing the last few weeks of my swimming career I couldn’t be prouder to swim with this team every day. They’re really incredible people that I count myself lucky to know.”
Zipp echoed Presnick’s message of determination and pride in his team.
“It doesn’t matter at the end whether we are the winners of the championship conference but how we came together and what we did in the process,” Zipp said. “Even if we don’t win every race, as long as we do something we weren’t able to do before that we work towards, then we are champions.”
Senior Lila Epstein is the Senior Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.