Women’s swimming team still undefeated, looking toward ODACs

The Washington and Lee women’s swim team continues to build on a dominant season

Sydney Lee

The Washington and Lee women’s swim team has achieved immense success this season with an undefeated meet record and a tight-knit group of dedicated, supportive women.

The Generals have maintained this success since their season-opener in Kentucky against Centre. The team gained even more momentum with a win against Carnegie Mellon, one of the highest ranked teams in the nation, for the second time ever in Generals history. The first came in November at the Franklin and Marshall Invitational.

“We proved that we were on the right track to have a successful ODAC meet in February,” said Emily Hageboeck ’20, a lead swimmer for the women’s team.

Though the women have won the ODAC meet for the past decade, this is the first year that they have been completely undefeated. According to Coach Kami Gardner, the women are “currently undefeated against both conference and non-conference opponents,” having “maintained a national ranking throughout the season as well.”

Ashley Johnston ’20, a key component of the strong team dynamic both in and out of the pool, shares Gardner’s excitement. “We’re undefeated, which has never happened before. It’s been so much fun because we are such a strong women’s team.”

In the eyes of Johnston and many of her fellow swimmers, the strong team dynamic is the recipe for success.

“Everyone comes to practice motivated to work hard, which can be difficult with early morning practices each day,” said Hageboeck. “But our team is very close out of the pool. We spend lots of time together catching up, doing homework in the library, and eating meals.”

“When we are all working together like we have been, it is so much easier to practice at 5:30 am,” said Ali McQueen ‘20. “It’s hard for us not to be close. This group of girls is so fun as well as dedicated to their sport.”

That dedication has led to impressive times and performances throughout the season. At the Washington and Lee Invitational on Dec. 1st to 2nd, multiple swimmers captured individual wins as well as fast times. McQueen, ’20, individually won the 50-meter freestyle as well as the 100-meter butterfly.  Hageboeck dominated in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events. Johnston, who was awarded the ODAC player of the week award shortly after the meet, won both the 100-meter backstroke as well as the 200-meter backstroke.

In addition, both McQueen and Hageboeck have qualified for the NCAAs with B-cut times. McQueen qualified with a 55.95 in the 100-meter butterfly, and Hageboeck qualified with a 1:04.73 in the 100-meter breaststroke as well as a 2:10.04 in the 200-meter breast.

With all sights set on the ODACs as well as qualifying individual swimmers and relays for the NCAAs, the Generals have begun to mentally and physically prepare as well as enjoy some much-deserved rest.

“At this point, we are focusing on the little things in the pool and giving them rest.  Swimming is a training sport and they have put in a lot of work over the year,” Coach Gardner said. “Taper time is a time to focus on rebuilding and that comes with rest.”

As the team continues to train as well as rest up for the end of the season, they visualize their goals as well as support each other.