After the loss of senior Tony Romanini last season, each individual on the Edinboro men’s swimming team will be looked at to step up in order to fill the void he left.
“He’s pretty much irreplaceable,” head coach Chris Rhodes said of Romanini.
But despite that departure, Rhodes believes he has people who are going to step up and that with each individual improvement the team as a whole will see the benefits.
Rhodes said he looks to his captains, Micah Cattell and Justin Ransel, to lead the team this year. He will also look to school-record holder Josh Beabout to help the team out.
“What’s really going to help us is our youth,” Rhodes said. “The excitement of swimming fast.”
Rhodes noted that being a young team does not worry him and that he’s actually excited for the unknown. He stated that the underclassmen who are returning know what the big meets are about and what they need to do to help the team improve.
Rhodes does not rely just on one or two individuals, but he relies on the team as a whole.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that we can improve on the seventh place finish,” Rhodes said, referring to the team’s finish at the PSAC meet a year ago.
He touched on the fact there were some mental mistakes made during some of the relays, which caused disqualification and he does not anticipate seeing those again this year.
Rhodes said improving upon their finish last year at the conference meet is his main goal right now and as the team improves, everything else will fall into place.
Currently, Rhodes is not looking to put any pressure on individuals to make nationals or expect the team to be one of the top two or three in the conference.
“Right now, let’s get the work done that is going to set us up to where we can focus on that,” he said.
Rhodes is excited about the recruiting class they are bringing in this year.
“They’ve really opened my eyes in practice so far with their work ethic and if the guys continue to train the way they are, they’re going to make some big noise at the conference meet come February.”
Rhodes feels that the mid-season meet at Wooster this season will let them know where they are in the conference and will indicate any adjustments they need to make at that point.
The men open up their season in the McComb Fieldhouse on Oct. 16 against Indiana (Pa.) at 6 p.m.
Michael McLaughlin is a Staff Writer for The Spectator.