Swimming finds success in Boston College preseason relays

by Ashley DuPuis | 10/14/15 7:00pm

The Dartmouth men’s and women’s swim teams started their season this past weekend away with a non-scoring relay scrimmage against Boston College. A total of 14 events took place, including two mixed relays. The women’s side came out with a strong showing, winning all its relays, along with the mixed events. The men’s side also proved a formidable opponent coming out 4-2 in its events at the meet. The team, which just kicked off official training on Oct. 1, is working toward major growth in the coming weeks before the regular season commences.

“Our team had really strong finishes, and the anchors [in each relay] did a great job,” team captain Olivia Samson ’16 said of the team’s performance last Sunday.

The Big Green came out with a powerful showing within the first few events of the meet. For the first and second events in the 300-yard backstroke relay, the Big Green women’s A and B teams finished with the top two times over Boston College, and on the men’s side, Dartmouth narrowly beat out BC’s A team to claim the top spot. In event eight, the women’s 500-yard freestyle relay, Dartmouth claimed the top three finishes, effectively shutting out the Eagles.

Katie Papa ’16 said the best part of the meet was seeing this season’s squad competing together for the first time.

Head coach Jim Wilson said the team’s performance was a good start, but fitness will be a key area of improvement in subsequent matches.

“Our endurance was lagging during the latter part of the meet,” Wilson said. Wilson also wants to have the team work to refine their turns and starts before their next meet.

Joining Wilson and diving coach Chris Hamilton this season are assistant coaches Blaire Bachman and Eliot Scymanski. The two bring strong coaching backgrounds to the Big Green. Bachman was head coach at Brenau University for five years. At the time of her hiring, she was the youngest head coach in the nation. Bachman was selected in the 2014-15 season as the NAIA Coach of the Year and has been a four-time Appalachian Swimming Conference Coach of the Year. She also led Brenau to a third-place finish at the NAIA National Championship — the highest finish in school history.

Scymanski took over as assistant coach and aquatics director at Franklin and Marshall College in December 2012. During his time at Franklin and Marshall, Scymanski helped lead the men’s team to a third-place finish and the women’s team to a second-place finish at the Centennial Conference Championship.

“Everything has changed [with the addition of the two new assistant coaches],” Wilson said. “There is new energy and drive.”

Samson described the expanded coaching staff as creating a “totally new team dynamic.”

The team looks forward to a bright future with a historically strong men’s diving team, and new first-year swimmers that will play a key role in future successes, Samson said. For the 2015-16 season, nine women and six men were added to the team’s roster.

“There is a momentum in training that I haven’t seen in awhile,” Samson said, adding that she wants to see the team “keep up this momentum heading into the season and also have fun.”

“Last year we really lost focus in the second half of the season, so this year we want to maintain our focus and intensity,” Wilson said.

The teams will start regular season play when they face Cornell University and Harvard University at a tri-meet in Ithaca, New York, on Saturday, Nov. 14, beginning at 11 a.m.

“We finished poorly last season [in the league], so we want to improve that,” Wilson said.

Samson echoed this statement, saying she hopes to see the team “move up in the Ivy League significantly.”

The team’s season will wrap up with the Ivy League Championship at Providence, Rhode Island, in late February.