SWIMMING & DIVING | Hoyas Gear Up for Season’s Final Meet
Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014 23:02
In the upcoming week the Georgetown swimming and diving teams will prepare for the Big East championships. The dive team will compete at Villanova from Feb. 13 to 15 while the swimming team will leave for Sewell, N.J., on Feb. 19.
The Blue and Gray finished their regular season just the way they wanted to. Both teams earned wins over Providence over the weekend, a team that will also make an appearance in the championships.
Both teams enter the final stage of the season with a lot to be excited about. The men’s team has yet to face off against a strong Xavier team this year, but it has won all of its other matchups with Big East opponents. The women also have yet to face Xavier, but, they have suffered losses earlier in the season to Villanova and Seton Hall.
“I’m not really focused on where we are going to end up in terms of the standings,” Head Coach Jamie Holder said. “I just think that when we take care of swimming fast the points will take care of themselves.”
Villanova is expected to be the strongest team on the women’s side of the Big East championships, while the men face a more even field. The men are poised to compete with Xavier and Villanova for the conference title.
“On the girls’ side for sure it’s going to be Villanova. Seton Hall is going to be tough to beat as well,” Holder said. “On the guys side definitely Xavier is the favorite from what I can see. Villanova and Seton Hall also have some pretty good swimmers on the guys’ side.”
Last season, in a very different Big East, Louisville won the women’s side, while Notre Dame fielded the best men’s squad. But this year, with the reshuffled conference, nobody can confidently predict the results. Both Louisville and Notre Dame are no longer in the conference, leaving teams like Georgetown, Villanova and Xavier with the opportunity to bring home the Big East title.
In a frustrating season, the Hoyas struggled against non-conference opponents but they did perform better against Big East rivals.
Georgetown has seven swimmers — three men and four women — that are potentially competing in their final meet and races. But the Blue and Gray, a youthful team, have seen outstanding performances from their freshmen and sophomore swimmers.
Walk-on freshman Martin Vanin has provided huge hope for the Hoyas’ future. Along with Vanin, sophomore Austin Evenson has also had a great year, finding the most success in the individual medley and long distance events.
The women’s team has also had some standout, young members, which provides encouragement for the future. Freshman Molly Gaynor has performed well, especially in butterfly events. Sophomore Nicole Tronolone has also had a fantastic season. Tronolone has competed in long distance events, mostly the 500-yard freestyle and the 1000 freestyle.
Though the Hoyas have struggled at times this season, they are entering this final meet healthy and in the best physical shape they have been in all year. After beating Providence, the Hoyas will enter this meet with momentum and confidence that they can swim with the rest of the Big East.
“Butterfly is going to be a strong suit for us in both the 100 and 200. Our distance is going to be good. Overall, I think we are pretty well rounded,” Holder said. “Our weaknesses, I would say, [are] going to be the breaststrokes. We have some strong breaststrokes, but not as much depth, especially on the guys’ side.”
The men’s team will certainly have a better shot at the title, but the women have a chance to make their mark too. Although the Villanova women’s team is expected to win, Georgetown is poised to have a strong showing at the meet, and finish among the top teams in the Big East.
“I expect them to swim really fast. This is our biggest meet of the year, what we have worked for all year,” Holder said. “I expect that they will all have best times.”