Swimming dialing in on A10s

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By Ryan Signorino
Staff Writer

With the Atlantic 10 Swimming and Diving Championships just a week away, the St. Bonaventure University men’s and women’s teams are focused on bringing hardware back from the meet.

For the seniors on the team, this will be their final chance to raise a trophy as champs of the conference. As for the freshman on the team, their first year on the team is quickly coming to a close.

Freshman freestyler Ava Bianchi said the year has gone exceptionally well, as the team won meets they were not expected to, including the meet against Central Connecticut State University.

Bianchi praised Head Coach Brian Thomas for the new way the team has been training this year.

“A lot of my teammates have really been excelling under Brian’s training, with both in-season [personal records] and lifetime [personal records], which is incredible considering those were before we started our taper,” said Bianchi.

Freshman freestyler and backstroker Theresa Hutton agreed, and also applauded her teammates’ perseverance throughout the season whenever they faced a setback.

“A few bumps hit us on the way, from concussions to injuries, and also medical problems, but we have all handled it to the best of our abilities,” said Hutton.

Hutton highlighted the Central Connecticut meet as the best part of her freshman year thus far, calling it nerve-wracking and exciting. She felt honored to be placed third in the relay that ultimately won Bonaventure the meet.

Hutton called the meet an unexpected win because Central Connecticut expected to come in and crush the Bonnies, but she said the women didn’t back down from the challenge, stayed strong and swam well.

“That team has girls that go to the Olympic trials, so it was crazy to be a part of the event that helped us win,” said Hutton.

“That team has girls that go to the Olympic trials, so it was crazy to be a part of the event that helped us win,” said Hutton.

For Bianchi, the highlight of her season happened before winter break when the team competed in the Akron Zippy Invite.

The women swam against some really fast teams they usually would not get the chance to race. For Bianchi, it was memorable because she swam her best 50-freestyle with a time of 24.61 and got to anchor the 200-medley A relay.

Freshman individual-medley swimmer Joe Malafronte picked the team morale getting better over the season as his favorite part of the year.

He said being closer allows the entire team to race better.

Looking ahead to next season and the next batch of freshman, the current freshmen offered some advice after swimming a year with the program.

Both Bianchi and Hutton suggested not to stress too much about the races and the intensity of the workouts.

Hutton also mentioned the incoming freshmen must be ready to get up and race everyday.

“You are coming to a school where you already know 25 people. Swimming is supposed to be fun, if that is not the reason that you are doing it then that is the wrong attitude,” said Hutton. “I have gotten to know a few of the incoming freshmen personally. They are all very talented swimmers and genuine people who I think will bring a lot more just swimming fast to the program.”

Malafronte’s advice is to hit the ground running and to give 100 percent in training in order to see improvement.

“While the season may seem long and practice may be hard, it is worth it knowing you are prepared as best as possible for [the conference meet,]” said Malafronte.

The swimmers’ eyes aren’t on next season, however. They are on A10s.

Bianchi said the team is going to perform phenomenally, and it will be an exciting meet. She expects the team to place better than last year and for some team records to be broken.

Hutton has no expectations for the meet, saying it would be nice to make some finals, but the team needs to make sure it swims fast in the morning to do that.

“I feel like a lot of teams will be surprised of what we have done in the past year. All we have to do is race, be aggressive and we will see where it takes us,” said Hutton. “I think if we don’t let the mental stuff get to us and leave everything in the water with perfect execution and detail, we will see ourselves in good spots at the end of the meet.”