By Matt Petit, Staff Writer
As the A10 Conference Championship meet approaches for the St. Bonaventure men’s and women’s swim teams, the Bonnies are looking to re-establish their dominance in the A10 conference.
Last year, the men’s team came in seventh, only surpassing Davidson College. The Bonnies, who are currently in their taper season, have been resting and meet-prepping for the big event.
Earlier in the season, men’s head coach Sean McNamee expressed his concerns on the physical illness and nagging injuries the team faced. However, now that taper has begun, he shared a different opinion.
“The last month we’ve been pretty healthy,” said McNamee. “Prior to that, we were getting saddled pretty heavily with guys that were sick.”
McNamee also hopes to see his freshman sports studies major and key backstroker, Tjaard Krusch from Dorsheim, Germany, perform well at his first A10 meet.
“We’ve had some solid performances that lead us to believe that some good things could be in the offing,” said McNamee.
McNamee also expressed his excitement for Maciej Danilewski, a freshman management major from Bialystok, Poland, who has been a substantial contributor for the Bonnies this season.
“Originally, coming in we weren’t sure what his 100 back was going to look like as opposed to his longer stuff,” said McNamee. “But he’s capable of cranking out so we’re going to double him up in the 400 individual medley and 100 back.”
These events will prove to be an important area for the Bonnies to create a large point swing in the meet. Last year, the most competitive times in the 100 back hovered around the 50 second mark, while the elite swimmers in the event broke 50 seconds. Typically, in training sports, each year gets more competitive than the last, forcing individuals to put out faster times to remain competitive in their events. This will be true this year as well, as Danilewski and Krusch will need to be well under the 50 second mark in the 100 backstroke in order to place in the top three or five, where the higher points are obtained for teams.
With this in mind, the 50 free will also be an opportunity for growth in the Bonnies line-up. Last year, the Bonnies placed 12th, 15th and 16th, garnering only eight points for the Bonnies in the event. This year, it is becoming more apparent in the conference that the winning time for the 50 free will most likely be solidified for any swimmer who breaks 20 seconds. Last year, the 50 free was tied at a time of 20.26, however the fastest time of 20.24 was posted in prelims.
Breaking 20 seconds in the 50 free is becoming less and less of a milestone in the swim community, as many elite teams around the country will have multiple swimmers going under the 20-second mark consistently.
The 400 individual medley will also be a competitive area for the Bonnies, as they have swam dominating times in the conference in that event throughout the regular, dual-meet season.
However, while the A10 conference meet presents new beginnings for freshman like Krusch and Danilewski, it also serves as an ending for the senior class. Logan Hellwig, a senior marketing major from Westerly, Rhode Island is one senior who will be ending his collegiate career after the A10 conference meet.
“I’m gonna miss the hard work and team dynamic that this team creates,” said Hellwig. “Especially when it comes to day-to-day activities and day-to-day work in and out of the classroom.”
Apart from the bittersweet ending to Hellwig’s swim career, it’s not over yet. Hellwig hopes to help the Bonnies score at the A10 conference meet.
“I will be on the scoring team,” said Hellwig. “ Hopefully on a couple of the relays.”
Hellwig also showed excitement for the events he will be competing in.
“I’m really excited for the 100 fly,” said Hellwig. “This year will be the first year I swim the 100 free. I’m usually in the 100 back.”
The men and women’s team will be competing next week, Feb. 14-17 at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.