Written By: Maggie Bennett
As the winter season quickly approaches, the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) swim team is ready to get back in action. Their first practice was Sept. 21, where they were able to swim in the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics Center (MPOARC) at SMCM. However, due to the pandemic, the team is not scheduled for any swim meets. According to the SMCM Athletics Site of the St. Mary’s College Seahawks, they are “Following extensive discussions and planning; the Atlantic East Conference Presidents’ Council supported a recommendation from the NCAA Division III Administrative Council to postpone competition for the remainder of the Fall 2020 semester.”
Head coach of the SMCM swimming team, Casey Brandt says that, “It’s an interesting year for everyone, but I think comparatively the swim team is in a fairly good position.” They ended the 2019 season off with a bang. Their final win against Frostburg State University occurred on Jan. 18, and before then the team was on a hot-streak, dating back to Jan. 4.
As of Aug. 19, the team is a member of the Atlantic East Conference. In fact, the “Commissioner Jessica Huntley and the Atlantic East Conference is proud to announce another affiliate addition to the league, welcoming St. Mary’s College of Maryland as an associate member in men’s and women’s swimming, effective Fall 2020.”
However, things are definitely different this year. According to Brandt, “with the pool space we have and our ability to distance in training, we have relatively few restrictions in our actual workouts.” While the team is able to practice, they cannot all practice together. Coach Brandt says, “We are on a modified schedule so the training is not as intensive as in past seasons but we have been able to establish a consistent routine and get some much-needed interaction as a team.” Although they are not all together, they are still able to practice in the pool in the MPOARC. They team has also gotten together over zoom to discuss their hopes and goals for seasons to come.
Even though they are not scheduled to compete as they normally would, Brandt claims that “the lack of a competitive season has also given us the time to break down strokes and work on efficiency, which I believe will have long term benefit for our athletes.” Unfortunately, the seniors will not get to experience their senior season as other student athletes in the past have due to COVID-19.
Since the season is starting up Coach Brandt wants the team as a whole, “Overall, the ability to come together as a team consistently, focus on staying healthy both physically and mentally, and reconnect with technique fundamentals in our sport without the pressure of competition has been a positive experience and will give us a good foundation moving forward”. With the team focusing on staying mentally and physically healthy, this time could provide the team an opportunity to grow. It will also allow for more time to practice and prepare for seasons to come.