Freshmen impress upperclass, head coach in first home meet
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 21:10
On Saturday, the Harry Rawstrom Pool in the Bob Carpenter Sports Building was a hive of activity as the Delaware men’s and women’s swimming and diving team defeated Georgetown University.
The Lady Hens had 14 event wins and finished with a score of 223 points, compared to Georgetown’s 77.
Junior freestyle swimmer Shea Solt placed first in the 1,000-meter, 500-meter and 200-meter freestyle events. She finished the 1,000 meter with a time of 4:09 and said she believes she got first place in that event because she is best at long distance races.
She said she was pleasantly surprised by her performance overall since she did not do as well at the beginning of the season.
In order to prepare for this season, Solt said she trained more over the summer in the pool and spent more time in the weight room. She also said the encouragement she received from her teammates helped her improve.
“I wasn’t expecting to be that fast, even when considering how hard I’ve been working,” Solt said.
The men’s team had similar success in their meet. They won 12 races and as a result finished with a substantial lead of 121 points over Georgetown, defeating the Hoyas, 209-88.
Senior co-captain Ryan Roberts, who swims freestyle and backstroke, finished the 100-meter backstroke in first with a time of 51.03 and also placed first in the 200-meter backstroke. Roberts said he was happy with his scores and thought that it was one of the best meets of his Delaware career.
“My 100 backstroke felt amazing and was my best time,” Roberts said. “So I am extremely happy with that and looking forward to building off that and getting faster every week.”
Head coach of both teams John Hayman said he believes all the swimmers have improved enormously since last year. Although there are 25 new freshmen on the team, one of the largest freshman classes in program history, Hayman said he is continually surprised by their performance and they bring a new energy to the team that motivates the other swimmers.
“My older swimmers have been doing this since they were five years old, and by senior year I don’t want them to get lackadaisical and sitting back,” Hayman said. “So by having these freshmen come in, it kind of stirs the pot and they get fired up and excited again.”
Among the top male freshmen at Saturday’s meet were Sihan Liu, who won the 200 freestyle, and Alex Tooley, who snagged first place in 200 breaststroke and 200 medley.
On the women’s side, freshman Emily Pate won the 100 and 200 breaststroke and Morgan Whyte won the 50 freestyle.
Roberts said he was impressed by the freshmen on both teams and believes they will help bring the team to the championship.
“Freshmen coming in is always a nerve-racking thing, but they blew it out of the water today,” he said. “All of them swam extremely fast, won a bunch of events and had some of the best times. I couldn’t have asked for more from them.”
Hayman said over half the team made a big impact compared to this time last year and as a result had an outstanding meet.
Now that the first meet is over, he said he has a better idea what the team’s strengths and weaknesses are. Hayman said he believes the swimmers this year have the determination, focus and skill to place high in the CAA championship later this year.
The freshmen of the men’s and women’s diving team also had a big day, with Patrick McCann winning the three-meter with a score of 264.67 and finishing second in the one-meter competition for the men.
Kristina Congdon and Caitlin Stockwell won the one-meter and three-meter titles for the women.
The Hens will head to Washington, D.C. Saturday to go up against their next CAA foe George Mason University.
Roberts said the swim team has their sights set on getting to CAA championship and will do just about anything to get there.
“We are willing to accept any challenge along the way and I really think we have the team to do it,” he said.