The Colby men's and women's swimming and diving teams started their seasons with a meet against the nationally ranked Amherst College swim team. Although neither team came away with an overall win, both the men and the women made substantial steps towards a successful season. The only win for the women went to Heather Cronin '13 in the 1000 freestyle. "It was an amazing race and a great way for Heather to start her college swimming career," Captain Danielle Carlson '10 said. Carlson racked up an impressive array of personal bests and two very close second places in the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medleys.
On the men's side Ryan Trafton '12 led the team with a second place in the 100 butterfly while teammates Kevin Smith '10 and Ben Gross '10 recorded two third places each in their events.
The next meet against University of New England yielded better results for the Mules. Both the men and the women dominated their opponents with wins in nearly every race. For the women, Carlson, Mandy Ferguson '12 and Kayleigh Monahan '13 each recorded two wins. Kathryn Lee '13 and Carly Rushford '13 added two more individual wins.
For the men, Gross led the team with three individual wins, while Smith and Raymond Rieling '12 took two wins each. In addition, Mason Roberts '12, Brian Gilligan '12 and Trafton each contributed wins in their events. In the team events, the men took both the 200 medley relay with a team of Gilligan, Roberts, Trafton and James Hootsman '13, and the 400 freestyle relay with a team of Rieling, David Hirsch '10, Gross and Hootsman.
For their third competition of the preseason the teams traveled to Massachusetts Institute of Technology last weekend for the yearly invitational. The meet proved to be a new kind of challenge for the team as it faced a much larger and tougher field of competitors. Carlson led the team with a sixth place in the 200-yard individual medley and Cronin had an impressive showing taking seventh in the 500 freestyle.
Going into the second day of the meet, Colby was just 28 points out of third place. "The score may not be great, but we are swimming very well," Head Coach Tom Burton said. "Every individual swim tonight for the men and women was a season-best time for us. That's a very impressive accomplishment and one not typical for us at this meet."
Carlson continued her run of impressive races coming in third in the 400 individual medley and ninth in the 100 breaststroke on Saturday. She also teamed up with Lee, Cronin and Ferguson to take fourth in the 800 freestyle relay and Cronin, Burns, Ferguson and Jenny Reiner '12 took eighth in the 400 freestyle relay.
Smith led the men's team on Friday with a fourth place finish in the 500 yard freestyle, one of only four swimmers out of 38 to finish with a time under five minutes. Once again showing their impressive relay skills, Rieling, Smith, Hirsch and Gross joined forces to take sixth in the 800 freestyle relay and eighth in the 400 freestyle relay.
Overall, the teams are pleased with their early season performances. The swimmers will continue competition in January, when the competitive season begins. Team morale and energy are high and the team goes into the season optimistic and ready to compete. "Aside from swimming, the team has incredible spirit and unmatched dance skills. These qualities greatly help our swimming performances at any given meet and contribute greatly to our overall success," Carlson said.