Swimming looking forward to upcoming season

Category:  Sports
Friday, October 18th, 2019 at 11:06 AM
Swimming looking forward to upcoming season by Amber Chisholm
Katelyn Kopacko competing last season. | File Photo

Work is well underway for the Edinboro University men’s and women’s swimming teams as their first meet approaches.

Endurance, yardage and speed, along with more lactic acid sets, are some of the main concerns, according to Head Coach Chris Rhodes.
When asked what he anticipates as finishes in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), he started with the men.

“I think the men, going into the season right now, we’re so young that we just don’t know how we’re gonna fit in. I think potentially and talent-wise...I think we can be ‘Top 4,’ taking on Clarion, IUP, Shippensburg. We’re gonna have some really good races. I don’t know if we have the depth to compete with West Chester, Bloomsburg and Gannon right now, but I definitely think that we’re gonna be right up there with those guys in a number of races,” he said.

As for the women’s team, Rhodes noted the increase in freshmen, yet with the current team leadership believes they could still reach top six or top four ranking.

“It just kind of depends on where everything falls into place for us and our events compared with all the other teams in the conference,” he explained.

Rhodes pointed out the larger size of other women’s teams, as well, with others likely to divide their practices. “If we can stay up ahead of their faster swimmers and let them knock out some of the other teams, then I think that we’re gonna, you know, definitely move up in the rankings,” he said.

Team progress has ultimately been going well as a positive outlook is both present and expected.

“Where we are now, compared to where we’ve been...I really like how we’re training. It’s a great atmosphere, we have a great culture right now — a lot of positivity. They’re doing a magnificent job in the water and in the weight room, and it’s translated into some great swims in practice. Now we just have to put those into, you know, competition meets.”

The team exercises four mornings a week, from 6 to 7:30 a.m., and four hours each weekday afternoon. They lift on Sunday evenings.
Kelsey Reagan, now in her second year as the assistant coach, offered her thoughts.

She mentioned the teams’ increased rosters, plus how six men went to the PSAC championships, and how the men’s and women’s teams have positive camaraderie.

“They work great together. I think that something that’s special about Edinboro is that we really are one program, not a men’s and women’s program...The captains do a great job making sure everyone’s included and they feel like one team, not two teams,” she said.

National championship qualifier Katelyn Kopacko also shared her thoughts, as she looks forward to the first competition of the year.

“I have a feeling that it’s gonna be a very good meet. Everyone’s been training really well so far, so we’re all gonna show up very well, I’m feeling.”
Men’s team captains Nick Bradford and Michael Kocher addressed various pros and cons of the season so far.

“It’s going pretty well. We’ve started a lot better than last year already. Our practices are harder, [and] the team atmosphere is much higher and much more positive, so I think we’re headed in the right direction,” said Bradford.

One obstacle for advancement is a 12-member men’s team.

“We just don’t have enough people to fill in events,” said Kocher, yet they still plan to make the best of the season.

The team’s first meet of the semester will take place at 5 p.m. on Friday at McComb Fieldhouse against Indiana University of Pennsylvania. “It’s our home meet and I think we actually look pretty good. We stuck out pretty nice against IUP, [and] the guys should do pretty well. We’re looking for our first win in [over a year] so that’d be awesome,” said Bradford.

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