The men and women’s swimming and diving teams finished fourth at their first event of the 2016-2017 season on Oct. 7, at the Denis Stark Relays hosted by Notre Dame University in South Bend, Ind.
Last season was one for the ages for the Tigers. The men’s team won the National Championship from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). It was the school’s first national championship for any sport. With this win, head coach Scott Teeters was named NAIA Men’s Coach of the Year.
The women’s team finished as the first runner-up for the Women’s National Championship while then-freshman Amanda Moran took home the NAIA Women’s Swimmer of the Year award.
“The best part was watching the joy in the kids eyes,” Teeters said. “We kind of knew we had it after the preliminaries on Saturday. We qualified way ahead of all the other teams, and that no one was going to catch. So walking out of the meet on that day you could see the celebration already start to begin. Mathematically it was sealed.”
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and feeling,” junior Guilherme Magnoler said. “To see all the hard work we put in everyday actually gave us something back and a reward that we needed and wanted very bad.”
With the men’s team losing only four seniors off of their twenty-man roster, and the women’s team losing only one senior from their twenty-one rosters, most of the two teams returned to swim again this fall. The men’s team have nine new freshmen on the team and the women’s team has six new freshmen on their team.
“We built this team so that it was open for everybody,” Teeters said. “Granted that they work as hard as everybody else.”
The team spirit and comradery is what makes the swim team such a strong unit.
“These individuals really watch out for one another,” Teeters said.” Even the young guys know that. The culture here is that we care. People who don’t know me, see my intensity. But you ask any of the kids who have been around me know that I will give them the shirt off my back.”
This season will see a raise in competition for the Tigers. During the year, they will face NCAA Division 1 programs such as University of Butler, Northwestern, University of Illinois, Oakland University, and Oklahoma State. There is a lot of drive for the women to take their first National Championship as the men did last year.
“I am excited to see what this season will bring and enjoy the journey we will take to get to nationals,” sophomore diver Vanessa Van Oost said. “I plan to beat my personal records this year and compete well at Nationals.”
“I feel better about this season than I did about the last season,” Teeters said. “The amount of work that these swimmers have put in since the nationals until now is amazing. They are in great shape. And they need to be.”
The next swim meet is Friday, Oct. 14 at 5 p.m. in the aquatics center of the Perry Center.
—Sam Nichols, staff writer