Led by a talented group of freshmen and inspired by their three graduating seniors, the Gallaudet University Swim Team finished the 2007-08 campaign on a very high note at the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Swim Championships at St. Mary’s College, February 15-17. Nine team records were broken, numerous personal bests were turned in, and the foundation prepared for an even better 2008-09 season. "It’s been a challenging road, but our swimmers are now competitive in a fast conference. They deserve a lot of credit and I am incredibly proud of them," said head coach Bill Snape, who was named the 2007-08 CAC Coach of the Year in men's swimming.
Freshman Jimmy McGowan led a men’s team that finished in sixth place overall and smashed all five relay team records: 200 Medley Relay (1.49.52); 400 Medley Relay (4:01.70); 200 Free Relay (1:36.44); 400 Free Relay (3:36.46); and 800 Free Relay (8:13.49). McGowan was joined by teammates Ryan Kobylarz, Daniel DiDonna, and Kris Lauderbaugh on the relays. In addition, McGowan not only led off two relays with individual team records (50 Free in 22.67 and 100 Free in 50.60), but also placed in the finals in his two individual backstroke events: (100 Back in 55.96 and 200 Back in 2:03.10). Also placing individually were Tyler DeShaw (400 IM and 200 Fly), Daniel DiDonna (100 Breast), Ryan Kobylarz (100 Fly), and David Torres (100 Fly). Scott Cohen and Joseph Lopez narrowly missed making finals in several events as alternates.
On Sunday evening, February 17, the CAC honored all senior conference swimmers and Gallaudet said a tearful goodbye to seniors Kandace Morris, Torres, and Kobylarz – all of whom had the finest meets of their outstanding collegiate careers as co-captains (along with junior co-captain Marissa Larson).
"We are all taking a deserved break," continued Snape, "before we start water polo club and voluntary (student led) dry-land off-season conditioning." Many of the Gallaudet swimmers will also train independently for the summer tryouts to compete in the 2009 Deaflympics in Taiwan. "Only 200 days until our next Gallaudet swim practice," joked Snape, who pointed out that many Bison swimmers have already logged well over 100 miles in the pool since the start of 2008. "You need to be a little crazy and a lot tough to be a top swimmer, and our team has definitely taken it to the next level of excellence with that combination." All told, an historic 11 Gallaudet swimmers made the CAC finals in at least one relay or individual event.
The Aqua-Bison open their 2008-09 campaign at home against perennial CAC powers University of Mary Washington and Salisbury University on Saturday, October 25 at 1pm.
Posted: 14 Mar 2008