The men and women’s swim team kicked off its season last Saturday as both teams placed third and fifth in the UR-hosted Harvest Relays.
But as all new spectators realize, this is not a typical swim meet.
“Harvest relays is a fun meet which allows many the opportunity to swim different events,” head coach Julie Benker-O’Brien said. “It is one of the most team-oriented meets due to the fact that it is all relays.”
In a typical swim meet, the only relays would be the 400-yard medley and the 400-yard freestyle. Thus, the Yellowjackets were up against themselves, trying to complete each split in their best times.
“It was not a meet focused on any individual performances,” Benker-O’Brien said. “Our expectations heading into the meet was to swim hard, like a very challenging swim practice. Many swimmers competed in five or six events, which is a lot,” she continued. “They were tired and sore but never let up, always challenging themselves in every event from first to last.”
Despite missing key swimmers who competed in Div. III’s water polo club national championship, and others like junior Kristen Broderick and sophomore Jon Wong, who were both ill with the flu, the Yellowjackets showed that they were poised to give all seven competitors a good showing.
The meet was split up into A, B and C heats, with A squads featuring a school’s best swimmers.
The UR women’s medley relay squads proved to be a solid team, as they breezed to first place in the 300-yard medley relay in 2:59:46 and placed fourth in the 400-medley relay with a time of 4:18:36.
The male Yellowjackets also fared well, placing fifth in the 400-yard medley relay with a time of 3:49.69 and sixth in the 300-yard backstroke relay with a time of 3:20.27.
The meet featured teams around the upstate New York region, including Carnegie Mellon University, William Smith College, SUNY Geneseo, Ithaca College, LeMoyne College, Alfred University and the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Aside from swimming for qualifying times, the Harvest Relays also allowed swimmers and Benker-O’Brien to check out this season’s competition.
“The Carnegie Mellon men showed that they will definitely be a force at the national meet in March, as did the Ithaca College women,” Benker-O’Brien said.
Meanwhile, the Yellowjackets are sprinting ahead as they kick off to away meets during the next two weekends.
“We had a very tough week of practices and were swimming right through this meet without resting in order to prepare us for the meets coming up, Union [College] and Nazareth [College],” Benker-O’Brien said.
Wu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.