Swim Team Season Preview

Cole Anderson

Shot of pool (front on) with swimmers
Photo by Rachael Barton

With about a month of official practice under their belts and coming off of last year’s successful¬†season, the Whitman College men’s and women’s swim teams are poised to continue their success this season.

The men’s team ended with a second place conference finish, and the women narrowly missed out on second as well. The team sent three swimmers to the DIII National Championships, and each went on to receive All-American honors. Senior Claire Collins from the women’s side was a standout athlete last year as was junior Karl Mering, who earned third and eighth places in the 200- and 100-yard butterfly, respectively, at the Men’s National Championships.

Tai Hallstein '17 kicks on her back during a practice.
Photo by Rachael Barton

“The success our team has had in recent years only makes our team want to do even better this year. We have a relatively young team, and our new swimmers are anxious to play their part in the continued success of Whitman Swimming. And they are poised to do just that,” said Head Swimming Coach Jennifer Blomme.

The youth on the team this year will hold considerable weight as the season progresses. This is especially true for the men’s team, which does not have seniors on its roster. The team is still very optimistic about the season.

“It will undoubtedly be different. However, a young team is not a bad thing in any sense, especially considering the talent of the freshman class,” said sophomore captain Sam Starr.

Starr also noted that the first-years on the team have shown maturity and an impressive work ethic. Their cohesiveness as a class, noted Starr, is what has helped them already start the transition into the team and do so pretty smoothly.

As for the women’s squad, this year brings a team full of the strongest swimmers in recent years. Collins remains optimistic that the strength of this year’s swimmers will keep them competitive against traditional swimming powerhouses.

“I believe that this is the best women’s team we have had since my time at Whitman. I think it would be awesome to get second in conference, and I think we will be closer in match to Whitworth than we have ever been. I also think we have the potential to send some swimmers to nationals and break a bunch of records,” said Collins.

With a group of first-years already showing tremendous talent as well as upperclassman experience to refine their skills, Blomme is very confident about her women’s side.

“Our women’s team is perhaps the strongest it’s ever been,” she said.

With such optimism about the upcoming season, there are quite a few goals for which each team is striving. Though the men’s team is relatively young, they still have their eyes on a top finish in conference.

Robby Dorn '16 swims breaststroke during practice.
Photo by Rachael Barton

“Coming off of a very successful season, our men’s team is using the positive energy as momentum to push us into our fall/winter training coming up. We hope the talents of our new and returning swimmers will lead us towards becoming the best team in the conference,” said Starr.

The whole team is focused not only on individual performances and team meet results, but also on improving the general team dynamic.

“It sounds overly simple, but we want to be the best team we can be. We won’t let anything get in the way of competing at the very highest level we’re physically capable of, but we are also bringing our best in terms of our mental game and in terms of teamwork,” said Blomme.

In the last two years, 52 school records have been improved, 28 two years ago and 24 last year, and this season looks to be no different.

“It’s hard to guess what will happen this year, but more records will go down, guaranteed,” said Blomme.¬†