The 2015-2016 men’s swimming and diving campaign was one of vast improvement.
Head coach Brad Bowser sent eight athletes to the Division III Championships two weeks ago, including a relay team for the first time since 2012. Members of the team saw themselves, and those around them, compete highly not only individually, but as a team as well.
Bowser had always set the standard high for the group, because they knew that with the work they put in, being successful was the only option.
“As a team, we were more focused than last year. Coach was always saying that we could win [at Metropolitans], and towards the end of last year we knew that we would do that this year,” said junior Luke Wister. “We beat TCNJ, which was one of our ultimate goals. They were, from the start, marked on our calendars.”
Wister took 10th (4:14.92) in the 400 individual medley at the Metropolitan Championships.
Experience played a big part in this season, as most of the team were upperclassmen. They were able to take their previous experiences and help the young guys around them reach their potential in order to better the team.
“It’s not too hard to be a leader on this team, since everyone is already so focused from the gate,” said junior Anthony Czar. “I try to do what I can do and lead by example, showing the love and the heart needed for this sport.”
Czar, along with junior captain Jesse Novak, junior Nick Marks and sophomore Eric Feuerstein, were a part of the 200 freestyle relay that won on the first day of the Metropolitan meet with a school record and NCAA B cut time of 1:21.33. The 200 freestyle relay took home All-America honors at nationals. The same group would set a school record of 3:01.61 in the 400 freestyle as well.
Junior Mike Simunek talked about the need for the upperclassmen to make sure that underclassmen are ready for the tasks at hand.
“For the new guys, it was important for them to come in to the season and to be in shape so you can build on what you have, and for them to not to lose their form over the course of the season,” said Simunek, who had a university record time of 1:52.81 in the 200 individual medley this season.
Simunek, Marks, Novak, sophomore John Tepper and junior John Morris were all named to the NJAC All-Conference first team in different events.
“We did exactly what we wanted to accomplish this year. We won our conference, won Mets and followed that up with eight guys at NCAA’s, with all of them earning All-American titles and mentions,” Bowser said. “As a coach, you always look to keep your team moving forward, and that is what we did.”
Bowser, the NJAC Coach of the Year for the second straight season, saw progression from all individuals on the team this season. Now, it is time to set up shop for the next one.
“We are taking a step back, seeing where we need to improve. We learned that it isn’t so much as to what we do in the conference, it is what we do when we get to NCAA’s,” Bowser said. “The whole mental focus coming into next year, is to make sure we are the best in relays, and the best in individual performances.”
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