BY Colin Cannata
On Saturday, Oct. 6, the Sacred Heart University swimming and diving team opened their season with record breaking performances at their annual Pentathlon event.
Freshman Nicole Tingley won the Pentathlon Championship, freshman Taylor Eck broke a Pentathlon record in the 100-meter backstroke, and sophomore Fiona Maxwell finished in the Top-3 for the second year in a row.
Additional records were broken by junior Julia Pusateri in the 100-yard breaststroke, and junior Lauren Somers in the 100-yard freestyle.
“The Pentathlon was a really exciting meet for the team. Every year, numerous records get broken which shows how the team is getting faster season after season,” said Tingley. “Winning the Pentathlon was very motivating for me. It pushes me to work hard every day so I can see what I’m capable of by the end of the year.”
The team then opened up their regular season a week later on Oct. 13, in record-setting fashion. They defeated both LIU Post and Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). It was the first time in the program’s history that this feat was accomplished.
“It was a great way to start the season,” said diving coach Adam Vance.
In addition to the team’s victories, junior Lauren Somers was named NEC Swimmer of the Week for her performances at the meet.
According to the Northeast Conference (NEC) website, Somers was the winner in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle events. It was the fifth time that Somers won the award in her career.
“For me the NEC Weekly Honors is motivation to keep working hard to reach my goals,” said Somers. “The honor also reminds me that I should be confident in my swimming as meet season continues because I am capable of being one of the top girls in the Conference.”
Somers and Tingley both kept it going in the team’s next contest against Saint Francis Brooklyn and Wagner at Iona College on Oct. 20.
According to the Sacred Heart athletics website, Somers again won both the 50 and 100 freestyle events. She also set a new school record in the 100 freestyle by finishing in 51.91 seconds. Tingley on the other hand, captured her first collegiate victory in the 200 butterfly event.
Coming into this season, the team was ranked 6th in the NEC Preseason rankings. However, they have since made it their mission to prove that the ranking is too low for them.
“I think that we use this ranking to help motivate us in a realistic way by working towards getting one step higher in the rankings,” said junior Nikole Rudis. “We’re trying to improve as a team from how we were ranked in previous years.”
The swimming head coach, John Spadafina, has supported this mindset as well.
“Our team has set goals this year to improve in the rankings; our goal is to continue to move up,” said Spadafina.
According to team members, a lot of training and preparation will be required in order to achieve said goals.
“Due to the nature of swimming, you have to commit to training year-round in order to be successful,” said Somers. “I trained all summer long and really focused on trying to break bad habits that I tend to fall into during my races. Here at school, we train nearly every day and have a lift program that we follow.”
On Oct. 27, the swimming team will take on LIU Brooklyn and Stony Brook at LIU’s swimming facility. The diving team on the other hand, will compete at Fairfield University.