Swimming and diving to celebrate seniors
The Massachusetts swimming and diving team will host Boston College this weekend in a meet that will see 13 UMass swimmers and divers compete in the confines of Joseph Rogers Pool for the final time.
The meet represents Senior Day for UMass, and the Minutemen and Minutewomen will look to keep the momentum going after wins from both teams in last week’s meet, the Rhode Island Invitational.
Success is nothing new on the men’s side of things. Since 1996, the men’s team has been one of the most dominant among all other UMass teams. The Minutemen have won 12 Atlantic 10 Championships over that span, including the last four. UMass also currently sits at No. 12 in the mid-major top 25 rankings.
Max Butler, Dan Backler, Christopher Howard, Brian Schmidt and Trevor Ziegler highlight a star-studded senior swimming class, while John Clark and Adam Duffield are the two senior divers on the team.
Russ Yarworth, head coach of the team for 32 years, has been a part of all 12 championships since 1996, yet he praised this senior class in particular for their efforts.
“Anytime the kids make it through their senior year in my program means they’ve been really dedicated and worked hard,” Yarworth said. “They all have a special spot in my heart and in the program.”
On the women’s side, Gillian Bank, Jennifer Corriveau, Kaitie English, Meghan Nowak, Tavis Potter and Jessica Starosielec are the five senior swimmers on the team.
The Minutewomen are coached by Bob Newcomb, who has been with the team for 27 years. Newcomb recognized each senior’s contributions to the program and understood that this year’s senior class was special.
“This group is very good, they are my captains and they do a very good job with that and [they will be a] huge loss.”
Newcomb is thankful for the time spent with the seniors but wishes he had more.
“That’s maybe the worst thing about college athletics, you only get a finite amount of time with them until they have to head out and find something else to do,” Newcomb said.
Individual accomplishments have not been hard to come by for Newcomb’s senior class. Starosielec holds school records in the 100 breast stroke and 200 and 400 medley relays while Nowak and Potter are second and fifth in school history for the 100 breast. Potter also holds the school record in the 800 medley relay.
Newcomb also praised sprinters Corriveau and Bank for their performance this season. He also spoke of English’s contributions, despite being hampered with injuries throughout her career.
Although Senior Day is very important to everyone in the program, coming away with a win is paramount for the UMass swimming and diving teams. The 16-event meet will take place at 4:00 p.m. on Friday. The meet can go a long way in preparing both teams for the most important tournament on their schedule, the A-10 Tournament.
Regarding the meet, senior Max Butler expressed the team’s overall goal best:
“As a team we would love to just blow BC out of the water.”Jackson Alexander can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.