The Allegheny College Men and Women’s Swimming and Diving Team’s season is approaching as they try to prepare for the obstacles and successes this year will bring.
This year’s women’s team is made up of 14 women and the men’s team is made up of 13 men. This is an increase in the numbers from last year, which has shifted the team’s goals and strategies.
Coach Kirk Kumbier said the increase in numbers has been great, but the team is still on the smaller side when compared to other teams in the conference.
“Our biggest obstacle is probably just numbers,” Kumbier said. “Sometimes that can be tough going into a competition when the other team has 20 members or more. Really you just have to work with what you have and we have a really good group this year. Each individual on the team really matters.”
Kumbier said part of what makes the small team strong is the support and bond they have within the group. He said they are always cheering one another on whether in practice or at a meet and they are together and there for one another on and off the pool deck.
Kevin Crooks, ’15, said as a senior this year presents a new set of goals for him and for the team.
“I’ve done this for three years now so it’s hard to set athletic goals when I know my retirement is coming at the end of the year so it’s more just about creating memories and making the most of the season while I’m here,” Crooks said.
As a team, Kumbier and Crooks both agree that they would like to improve the team GPA and continue the support they see within the group.
“Our team GPAs were both above a 3.0 last year but I think we can do better than that. It’s hard because we are a pretty small team to it really depends on everyone’s GPA,” Crooks said.
Kali Schneider, ’16, said this season she is most looking forward to the conference meets and to see how the new members of the team progress and incorporate themselves into the team.
“I’m really just looking forward to see how the freshman develop and to see where they can end up helping the team,” Schneider said.
Race Mahoney, ’18, said being on the swim team so far has helped him stay focused and helped introduce him to college life more smoothly.
“Swimming has made me stay a lot more focused and taught me how to manage my time because I’m always doing something,” Mahoney said. “I always have to go to practice or have a meet coming up so it keeps me on track.”
As the official season gets closer the team will continue to work hard. Crooks said that in order to prepare, practices will begin getting more competitive and the team members will start to look at one another for mental support as the sport gets even more demanding.
“I am most looking forward to surprises,” Kumbier said. “I like being surprised by individuals who are constantly working hard and then that leads to great meets, either in dual meets or at the end of the season. When you see someone’s hard work pay off, that is one of the best experiences as a coach.”
The Men and Women’s Swimming and Diving Team’s first home meet will take place on Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. at the Wise Center Pool.