The Chargers swim team swims in their first meet this weekend
(Christian Yiu | Collegian)

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.”