The Charger swim team is back in the pool after a second consecutive G‑MAC win this past spring and will be able to compete with leaner COVID-19 restrictions this season.
“We are happy that complete team interruptions due to COVID uncertainty are now a thing of the past,” Head Coach Kurt Kirner said.
Freshman Joanna Burnham said she is looking forward to the coming season after COVID complicated her senior year of high school.
“I’m excited to have a normal swim year,” Burnham said. “Everyone on the team is so nice and so welcoming.”
The team has exciting opportunities to grow and improve this season, according to Kirner.
“Last season, because of the breaks in training due to COVID, we were never quite at our best to attain team records or personal bests,” Kirner said. “This year we are hoping to break some team and possibly G‑MAC records.”
Sophomore Sarah Pataniczek said she shares similar hopes for the team.
“Right now, we’re just taking it meet by meet, so each meet it’s important that we give our best effort and just improve ourselves,” Pataniczek said. “When we get to conference in February, it will all help.”
The team lost two swimmers in the class of 2021, but this season welcomes five freshman competitors. Kirner said he looks forward to what they will add to the team.
“Our freshman class is solid,” Kirner said. “We’ve added two fine breaststrokers in Emma Dickhudt and Joanna Burnham and a very competitive flyer with great mid-distance freestyle capabilities in Megan Clifford.”
Kirner also said the returning swimmers are remarkable athletes and excellent assets to the team.
“We have two of the top returning sophomores in the conference in Cecilia Guadalupi and Caroline Holmes and last year’s Co-G-MAC swimmer of the year Leah Tunney,” Kirner said. “We also return the fastest swimmer in the conference Marie Taylor.”
Senior Carissa Henderson said she is confident in the team’s ability to perform this season.
“We returned a lot of really strong swimmers and brought in a lot of really cool freshmen, so I’m really excited to see what the season has to bring,” Henderson said.
Kirner, Pataniczek, Henderson, and Burnham all said a third consecutive G‑MAC win is top of mind for the whole team. Patanczek said their inter-squad meet this past weekend energized the team.
“I just really loved the energy we all brought, the amount of cheering on the pool deck, and just the supportive energy,” Pataniczek said.
Beyond the team’s goals going into G‑MACs, Henderson said she hopes they will be able to improve in other ways.
“This sport is really focused on the whole individual and focusing on personal growth,” Henderson said. “I’m really hoping to bond as a team and grow as people.”