Expectations surrounding the Rowan women’s swimming and diving team were low entering the season. The Profs, who were selected to finish fourth in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, were considered to be in a rebuilding phase.
The team was heading into their second season with a new coach, had one of the smallest rosters of the 19 teams in the regional, New York-area Metropolitan Conference and relied heavily on unproven underclassmen.
Despite all these obstacles, Rowan greatly outperformed their preseason expectations. The program took a step in the right direction with a second-place finish in the NJAC. Head coach Brad Bowser credits a lot of this success to the performance of the team’s underclassmen.
“I thought a lot of that success was unexpected because I just didn’t know how good our freshmen were,” Bowser said. “I saw a lot of improvements from the freshmen class this year. Just straight across the board, I thought all of them swam well. Both the freshmen and sophomores.”
The current freshmen and sophomores were essential to Rowan’s success and will likely be a huge part of the program going forward.
A key member of the Profs’ young core is freshman Miranda Coughlan. The five-time NJAC Rookie Swimmer of the Week led the team in the 50 (24.20), 100 (52.76) and 200 (1:57.47) freestyles. Coughlan was also a key member of Rowan’s record-breaking 200 medley relay (1:49.45) at the Metropolitan Championships.
“I think I gained a lot of confidence throughout the season and I’m really excited for next season,” Coughlan said. “I’ve just learned so much in my first year and I know my hard work will pay off if I just keep working hard.”
While Rowan has assembled a young core, they will be without some important talent and leadership next season. The team loses eight seniors this offseason, including Olivia Wojtowicz and Julia DelNero.
Despite the team’s offseason losses, however, Wojtowicz believes that the program will continue to grow and head in a positive direction.
“The team is just going to keep getting more and more people,” Wojtowicz said. “I think that the team will just continue to build. [The program] has gained so much credibility so far, especially with all the men competing for nationals. I know these girls that are coming back next year are a nice group of girls and I think that everyone will just keep improving.”
One of the ways that Rowan will replace these seniors is through recruiting. Bowser and assistant coach Elise Blaschke continue to work hard to find the next wave of swimmers who will help lead the program to future success.
Next season, Rowan hopes to bring in even more talent and expand the size of the roster, addressing the issue of depth from this season.
“It’s always difficult to replace the seniors,” Bowser said. “Both Elise and I have been busting our butts in recruiting and getting ourselves to bring in more talent. I expect to be a bigger team next year and expect to be very young, which is good to see.”
“This team is like two years out from being a really strong team in the NJAC, the Metropolitan Conference and even nationally.”
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