By Heather Keller
The Sacred Heart University Women’s Swimming and Diving team has named four captains for the 2016-17 season, which began on Oct. 15 with a meet at LIU Brooklyn.
Seniors Jillian Crosby, Olivia Decas, Caleigh Dion and Julia Pedersen were voted in by their teammates and appointed captains for the season according to a press release from Sacred Heart Athletic Communications.
“We’re really focusing on coming together as a team, over half the team this year are freshmen,” said Pedersen. “We have a lot of talent so we are really excited to start the meets so we can see it all come together.”
This year’s team is composed of 20 underclassmen along with eight upperclassmen. The captains expressed enthusiasm regarding the new members and confidence in the upperclassmen foundation of the team.
“We’re focusing on becoming a team since we have so many new people, and just being strong all together,” said Decas.
Another focus in pre-season has been on “individual improvements and really getting back to the basics in the pool,” said Dion.
The Pioneers will have meets over the course of the next three months all leading up to the North Eastern Conference (NEC) Championship. That meet will take place Feb. 15-18, 2017 hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.
“The NEC championship is the most fun meet of the season and it’s definitely the one with the most pressure, so it’s the one we all get most pumped up about,” said Decas.
While the captains understand that there is an entire season to get through before the NEC Championship, the dedication and focus to win the championship is apparent.
“Six to seven months of training goes into it [NEC Championship] so there is a lot of excitement built up and it’s also a really fun environment,” said Pedersen.
During the next three months of competition, the captains have goals of keeping the team in high spirits and forming a team bond that will help push them through tough meets of the season. Pedersen said the long length of the season will require the team to encourage and root one another on, as this will help them get through the season.
As the captains prepare for their final season, there is added pressure, as well as additional motivation, to do their best. Decas and Dion said that their goals were to have fun, enjoy their time as athletes and not be under too much pressure for six months.
“I just want to go out doing some [of my]best times, it’s a good way to hang up your suit forever and I am excited to get some free time back, but I know we’re all going to miss it,” said Pedersen.
As the captains take the blocks in their final season as collegiate athletes, they plan to leave it all in the pool and go through the season with no regrets.
“The four of us captains started together and it will be bittersweet to end together but it’s been a long road and we’re excited to get after it one last time,” said Pedersen.