Eight members from the Rowan men’s swimming and diving team have punched their tickets to this year’s Division III Championships, which takes place March 16-19, in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Going back to 2012, Rowan has been able to send more individuals to the meet each season. This year’s group is the biggest for the Profs since the 2011-12 championship meet. The development of the team has been important to the veterans.
“It’s great to be a part of something that is growing here. We are bringing a couple of us back [to the tournament], and now we have more than tripled our outcome from last year,” says junior diver John Morris, the only Prof who will be competing at nationals for the third time.
“We’ve been nonstop training to get to this point,” says junior Nick Marks. “Being able to see the start of something great is pretty surreal. You can see over the years how much this team is improving. This team will be even better next year.”
When asked what has been the biggest difference between his first and second years, sophomore Eric Feuerstein also pointed to the training regimen designed by the coaching staff.
“Since last year, we’ve been very intense and have had competitive practices,” said Feuerstein, who will be competing in the freestyle relays. “This hard work has paid off. We have a whole bunch of guys not only qualified in the individual events, but we have whole relay teams.”
Due to the large group, the Profs will feature multiple relay teams in Greensboro: both the 200 and 400 freestyle, and 200 and 400 medley relays. Having this many sections represent the program is something the members of the brown and gold are excited about.
“Being at this highly-prestigious meet with this team, knowing that we have the chance to do something really great is an amazing feeling,” says junior captain Jesse Novak.
Novak enters the meet as the reigning champion in the 50 and 100 freestyles.
“I know when I come back here 10 years from now for the alumni meets, this will be a moment that I’ll think about,” Novak said. “Being with these guys for this event, it’s special.”
The only freshman of the group, Joe Furze will join elite company as he is one of the only Rowan freshmen to qualify for the tournament in recent years, along with Morris in 2014.
“This is something that I knew that we could do,” Furze said. “Being a freshman, I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from being able to compete here. This is really going to be fun, and it’s a cool opportunity.”
Juniors Paul Long, Michael Simunek and Anthony Czar, a first-year Prof, will join their teammates at nationals. Long, a participant in the 100 breaststroke and the 400 medley relay, said that being able to keep in shape and have the right mindset throughout the year is what brought this group of guys to where they are now.
“Some people get down. You have to stay dedicated and make sure everyone has their heads up and grow stronger as a team,” Long said. “That is what we have done here.”
The mixed group of rookies and veterans believe they are well prepared for the challenges they will face next week. They will make the eight-hour trip to Greensboro hoping to have some gold for the ride back.
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