Men’s and women’s teams swim laps around the competition as they near the ODACS

Having accrued several ODAC titles already, the men’s and women’s swim teams hope to add another one to their collection this year

Ben Soullier

The Washington and Lee men’s and women’s swim teams head into the ODAC Championship with the hopes to repeat last year’s success. The women’s team last season won the ODAC Championship for the ninth year in a row and finished in 25th place in the NCAA Championship with a total of 29 points. This finish ties the best finish in school history for the Gennies and marks the largest point total ever

reached at the NCAA Championship by the team. The men’s team has won the ODAC Conference for the last two seasons and finished 17th at the NCAA Championship last year with a score of 57 points. Both teams hope to surpass past achievements.

The Gennies have less than two weeks now to prepare for the conference championship, but it’s the work that both teams have put in throughout the season that gives them the confidence they need to succeed.

In gearing up for ODAC’s, the Gennies season-long effort and training will be the pillar on which the team relies on to succeed, Captain Haylee Rademann, ’17, said.

“We’ve had a lot of tough training all season,” she said. “Now we just have to have faith in the work we’ve already done and keep ourselves healthy before the meet.”

The team very much recognizes that they have put in the work to be successful. Both teams are coming off very impressive wins against York College of Pennsylvania. The men’s team beat York, which had previously been undefeated in dual meets and the women’s team more than doubled York’s score.

Captain Cole Schott, ’17, described the team’s feeling after the win as being “extremely excited.”

He was very proud of the team’s effort: “Swimming a meet like that is all about mental preparation,” he said. “No matter how tired or sore the team is, we focus on getting our heads in the right place to perform our best.”

After this impressive win for both sides, the women’s team climbed to ninth in the nation among Division III teams and the men were able to break into the Top 25 as well.

As this season came to an end for both teams, the women’s team saw numerous school records broken, and an incredible undefeated record in dual meets. The men saw a 5-1 record in dual meets and the continued success of the four-time school record holder and captain Tommy Thetford, ’18.

Both teams saw the rise of several promising first-years in the pool with many appearing either at or near the top of the team’s top finishes in several events this season.

The Gennies attribute their success to hard work and team chemistry.

“No team works harder than the swim team,” he said. “[We] practice typically last two and a half hours, meaning the team spends at least 15 hours a week training.”

Both of these teams are also very close outside the pool as well.

According to Captain Emily Rollo, ’17, the team was able to “create strong bonds outside of the pool by doing team activities or just studying together.”

While this season will be surrounded with memories of success and triumph, this season also marks the last season the Gennies will compete in the Cy Twombly pool. It was pretty special for the team to be a part of history, but also very emotional.

“We swam the last meet ever in Cy Twombly pool this season,” Rollo said. “This was a special moment for this team and we feel that we are a part of history because of it.”

The Gennies must look ahead to the Championship season now.

“Both the men and women fully expect to win ODACs,” Schott said. “After that, we hope to send as many swimmers to NCAA’s as possible. This will require fast relay swims and great finals swims from individuals. I think a top 15 finish at Nationals is not out of the question for either team.”

As both teams head into Championship season, it should be very interesting to see them make this final push and what other successes await the Generals at the end of this year.