Twelve – a number that can be seen as one of the most iconic in the sports world. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, John Stockton, The “12th Man” in Seattle. You get the point. But, for the Rowan women’s swimming and diving team, 12 was the amount of points between them and a first place finish last season in the Metropolitan Championships.
In the meet a year ago, the Profs came in second with 1,086 points in the three-day meet held at Rutgers University, just a dozen points away from the 1,098 that the University of Bridgeport secured for the gold.
Then-freshman Carlee Timmins set a school record in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 17:36.77, good enough for a third place finish. Timmins broke that record this year in the WPI Gompei Invitational in the first week of December with a time of 17:24.43.
The team had top-five finishes in seven events, including Timmins’ record-breaking freestyle.
But this is a different team ready to take things to the next level, and head coach Brad Bowser worked all season to do just that.
“We’ve just gotten stronger, we’ve improved,” Bowser said. “The talent has gotten stronger. We used to just be strong and deep but now we are more talented in terms of going out and winning events.”
When it comes to the meet itself, Bowser isn’t looking for individual success. Instead, it’s what sports are all about: the team.
“I’m not looking for specific events and individual performances,” Bowser said. “I’m just looking for good swims.”
On the men’s side of things, the Profs are coming into the Metropolitan Championships aiming to secure the trifecta, winning their third year in a row. The team took gold in five events.
The team looked much different then than it does now. There is no Jesse Novak, Nick Marks, Mike Simunek or John Morris.
“I would say the way we are looking at the team is different,” Bowser said. “Our freshmen are stronger than where we were last year. We don’t have the top-talent we used to, but in terms of where we are depth-wise, we are about the same.”
Freshman Youssef Elshenawy was named New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Men’s Swimming & Diving Rookie of the Week three times this year. Freshmen Oliver Cruz and Dylan Regan found success in the 200 medley and Kevin Gillooly in the 400 freestyle.
When asked if both teams finishing first is a possibility, Bowser kept it simple.
“Oh, yeah. Both teams have a realistic shot of winning, no doubt.”
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