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W&J Swim & Dive: The Road to PACS 

By: Audrey Kough, Red & Black Campus Sports Writer

Pictures are the starting blocks of the W&J Swim and dive team. (Courtesy Regan Carlson, Red & Black Photojournalist)
JAN. 27 — All the way back in September the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams started their 2022-2023 season. They have had a tough season all around with athletes being out with injuries and their team numbers being low. The reoccurring theme of the season was overcoming obstacles and persevering. Nevertheless, the season went on and the athletes on the team put in the work to have a successful year and make the most of their season.
Over the course of the regular season, the men’s and women’s teams competed in multiple meets against other teams within the PAC conference and teams outside of the conference. Ultimately, the men’s team got a 2-8 overall record and a 2-4 conference record. The women’s team ended their season with an overall record of 2-9 and a conference record of 1-5. With the long season ending right around the corner, the team has one thing in their eyesight: PAC Championships. This is a four-day meet, taking place between Feb. 15 and 18. The swimmers and divers will compete in multiple sessions, in a series of events to place well in their races and get a personal best time in their events. The swimmers will have a preliminary race in the morning, where they will try and place into an “A or B final.” If a swimmer qualifies for an A or B final, they will return in the evening and compete in finals, in hopes to secure the highest spot possible on the podium. A and B finals are two groups of eight swimmers who swam the fastest in the morning and returned to compete for a final time and fight for a spot on the podium. The athletes will compete in individual events and relays. The divers will have a similar schedule of events, with prelims and finals, competing a series of dives on both the one-meter and three-meter boards.
Freshman Melvin ‘MJ’ McRae Jr. is new to the sport of diving. Being recruited to W&J for swimming quickly ended when McRae suffered a shoulder injury at the beginning of the season which made swimming difficult. McRae had already planned to try diving, and now that he could not swim, he took the tragedy and turned it into an opportunity to try a new sport. He gives insight as to how his first season went saying, “It was a rough start, watching my competition I felt like I was super far behind, but was reassured being that I had just started... with the pushing of coaches, a lot of hard work and painful smacks I got better. The season was full of ups and downs.” McRae also explains his hopes for his and the dive teams performances at PACS, “I want the team to go out there without comparing themselves to the rest of the divers... I think we must go out and focus on what we can control.” 

“I want the team to go out there without comparing themselves to the rest of the divers... I think we must go out and focus on what we can control.” - McRae

On the swimming side of the team, captain and junior Amanda Graves gives insight as to what has been going on with the women’s team. She tells about how their season has been going, “Throughout this season the team has experienced a lot of variation. Many of us have experienced injuries, myself included. We have also had teammates step away for various reasons, but those of us who remain stay focused on each other and our own. Regardless of the fluctuation in roster size, I believe that the women’s team has done well on an individual basis.”
When asked about the team dynamic, Graves says, “We support each other and our goals regardless of team size. As a whole team, men’s team included, we are very friendly and close with one another.” Graves gives her finals thoughts by sharing her hopes for the women’s team at PACS, “I hope that everyone goes into PACS confident and proud of the work they have put in through the whole season... aside from racing and competition I am hopeful that the team will have a good time together and enjoy each other’s company.

“We support each other and our goals regardless of team size. As a whole team, men’s team included, we are very friendly and close with one another.” - Graves

On the men’s side, junior and captain Matt Allgeier gives information about their team saying, “This year has been a big rebuilding for the men’s team. We graduated with a lot of talented swimmers and now have a relatively young team. With a lot of the younger guys have really embraced the rebuild and done a good job working hard and building a strong core for years to come.” Allgeier then goes on to describe the team dynamic as “The team dynamic is very lighthearted... Our team is always joking in-between sets and before practice which helps a lot dealing with the intensity of our sport.”
Lastly, Allgeier shares his hopes for the men’s team at PACS, “I am expecting a lot of huge time drops and surprise performances. The goal of PACS is to beat the psych sheet, or in other terms swim above your seeded place. We have a lot of swimmers who are unknown in the conference who have the potential to make a lot of noise and surprise some people with their times and places.” Even with the ups and the downs of the season, the swimmers and divers look forward to successfully ending the season.  

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