As the fall sports at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) wrap up their seasons with playoffs, the winter sports teams are gearing up to start playing games of their own. The first winter sport to start their season was the men’s and women’s swimming teams. Both men’s and women’s swimming began their respective seasons on Oct. 28 at Marymount.
Unfortunately for the swim teams, both the men and women fell to Marymount. The men’s team lost 115-88 and the women’s team lost 109-96. Despite the losses, there were still several positives for SMCM on the day.
First-year swimmer Andrew Scott of the men’s team began his collegiate career by placing first in both the 200 and 500-meter freestyle events. Sophomore Peter Orban also added a first place finish of his own in the 100-meter backstroke. Senior captain Kieran Broder rounded out the day for the men’s team with a first place in the 100-meter breaststroke and a second place finish in the 200 meter individual medley.
The women’s team had several bright spots as well. First-year Anna LaPoint started off her St. Mary’s career well by placing first in the 200-freestyle as well as leading the team to victories in the 200-medley and 200-freestyle relays. In the 200-medley, sophomore Carolyn Sutton, junior Hailley Baughman, and first year Alekxandra Grcic helped to claim the victory along with LaPoint. In the 200-freestyle relay, junior Rachel Yates joined Sutton, Grcic, and LaPoint to defeat Marymount by seven seconds. Additionally, Junior Elizabeth Valenti finished second in both the 1000 and 500-freestyle events.
In the preseason polls, both men’s and women’s swimming were projected to come in fifth place in the conference. The men’s team finished last season with a 3-6 overall record and a 1-4 record in conference. The women’s team had a 1-8 record and went 0-5 in conference. However, during last season’s 2017 Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Swimming Championships, both teams bested their projections and placed fourth.
For the 2017-2018 season, the SMCM men’s team will be led by Broder, Junior Colin Cassidy, and Sophomores Ryan Akhavan and Orbin. Broder, a team captain, finished top eight in both the 100 and 200-meter in last season’s CAC Championships. Cassidy will play an important role as well this year, seeing as he made the 2017 Second Team All-CAC for 100-meter freestyle. He also holds the school record for 50-meter freestyle. Both Akhavan and Orbin were consistent scorers all of last season for the Seahawks. For this year, senior Ben Ertman is also a captain along with Broder.
The men’s team will be joined by first-year swimmers Benjamin Cornwell, Nate Donoghue, and Scott. Senior Maxwell Madden will also return to the team after taking one year off. Donoghue was a three-time all-county swimmer in Prince George’s County, while Scott set 21 records for the Chesapeake Bay Aquatics Club as well as winning the 2016 Maryland State Championship.
The women’s team is led by senior captain Rachel Sonnenberg, junior Baughman, and sophomore Sutton. Along with Sonnenberg, senior Emma Green and junior Samantha Schoenecker are also captains this year.
Last season, Baughman, Sonnenberg, and Sutton made the Second Team All-CAC for the 200 and 400-meter medley relays. In order to better the team, head coach Casey Brandt has brought in seven newcomers as well as welcomed back senior Nicole Lertora (who studied abroad last season). Some top newcomers are Grcic and LaPoint, according to Nairem Moran on smcmathletics.com. This will be head Coach Brandt’s second season at the helm of the Seahawk swimming program.