A new distance coach, Dominic Ziolek, and a crop of talented freshman made a difference for the UR Swimming & Diving team, with both the men and women beating Brandeis University and Hartwick College in the season’s first two weekends of competition.
“I’m honored and thrilled for the opportunity to coach at the University of Rochester,” Ziolek said, a 2015 graduate of Wheaton College and coach at both Executive Swim Club and multiple camps in New Hampshire. “Through the first month, I already know this is the perfect team and school for me […] it has been a great privilege to work with such dedicated and driven student-athletes every day.”
In their season opener, the UR men would beat Brandeis in 11 individual swim events and both relays.
For the women, freshman Monica Jackson would earn her first two collegiate victories, with senior Anna Mucci also winning two events. Senior Emily Simon would contribute two first place finishes out of a total of five for UR in a dual-double meet with Brandies and Canisius College the following day.
For the men, yet another freshman, Eric Sonheim, and sophomore Elliot Schwinn were standouts—both with two victories. In their latest meet against Hartwick, the UR improved their record to 3–1 with Sonheim earning another two victories. Senior Danielle Neu would win both diving events and freshman Marija Mitrovski would take first place in the 100 meter freestyle.
“Although we have some great talent across the board, I’m excited to see how the freshman do this year and what they can bring to the table,” Neu said, when asked about athletes to watch.
Fellow senior Cory Chan echos Neu’s sentiments.
“The freshmen class is always exciting to watch because it’s their first year of college swimming, which can be very different than club swimming,” Chan said. “They had great swims this past weekend and they work so hard during practices, so it’s exciting to know that they’ll grow even more throughout the season.”
The leadership of the sophomore class, a good team dynamic, and versatility have all contributed to the successes of their young season.
“We have people that swim a diverse range of events, which can truly be valuable in a dual meet scenario, and then we have those that are finely tuned in a couple key events, which helps round us out,” Head Coach Wylam said. “We are excited to see our underclassmen take on new leadership roles and step up in their respective events.”
When asked about season expectations, Chan looked toward the both conference championships.
“We are all training towards a collective goal and hope that our hard work will pay off by winning the Liberty League Championships and placing well at the UAA Championships,” he said.
In recent history, UR Swimming and Diving has had exceptional showings at their conference championships, with the women earning the past seven titles and the men matching them four times since 2011.
“It has been a great privilege to work with such dedicated and driven student-athletes every day,” Ziolek said. “I can’t wait to see the team do big things at Liberty Leagues and UAAs.”
“Besides trying to improve in the pool, we are hoping to improve our academic standings,” Assistant Coach Renee Rosenkranz said.
Last season, UR was named to the Division III Scholar All-America team by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America by having one of the top 30 cumulative team GPAs in the country. The women took the 23rd spot with a GPA of 3.50, and the men came in the 27th with a GPA of 3.30.
UR Swimming and Diving turns their attention to a jam-packed November schedule, with meets in Pennsylvania at Gannon, Grove City, and Case Western, along with trips to Fredonia and Alfred State.