If there’s anything today’s weather hinted at, it’s the feeling of summer. You know, grillin’ some burgers for the boys and spending half a check on ketchup and mustard for hot dogs. Wait, but we aren’t talking “hot dogs,” we’re talking “top dogs.” If you’re looking for a couple of “top dogs,” look no further than the Rowan swimming and diving programs.
I’ll blame this late-February heat wave for the previous mix-up.
Both the women’s and men’s swimming and diving teams took first place in the three-day long Metropolitan Championship this past week. The victory completed a three-peat for the men and the first top-finish for the women in program history. The women’s team came into the second down 21 points to Long Island University Post and ended the night up 56.5 points ahead of them to go into the third and final competition day with a comfortable lead. For the men, they claimed first place throughout all three days.
But, for both squads, the Mets are not the main focus of the season. There is a bigger picture framed near the pools.
“In our sport the number one responsibility is getting people to NCAA’s,” said head coach Brad Bowser. “Focusing in on as high of a national ranking as we can, and that’s all based on the quality of competition that we swim against in our conference meets. You know, we are putting ourselves in situations to make NCAA’s.”
Although the swimming and diving programs have been nothing short of dominant since Bowser came to the helm four years ago, talks of a dynasty at hand aren’t being discussed. This isn’t like the mid-90’s Yankees.
“Dynasty, legacy, whatever you want to call it, I think they look at winning as just part of it; part of their goals,” Bowser said. “They achieve one goal and get set for the next. We celebrate for an hour and a half and move on.”
The win for the women’s team came from within, as they knew all along that they were due for the top of the ladder. It was time to reach greatness.
“It’s huge for our program and huge for the individuals on the team,” Bowser said. “I think our dream for this year was to get into NCAA’s and this year they noticed that they can win. Now, their focus isn’t going to be on Mets [Metropolitan Championships], it’ll be getting people into NCAA’s for next year. Each one of them has recognized the fact that we are no longer ‘good.’ We want to be great, and they all see that.”
An underlying factor of the men’s repeating wins has been the strong schedule the Profs had lined up this year. With a target on their back, there’s always going to be the conference dogs wanting to take the throne.
“We had four guys that made B cut,” Bowser said. “It’s weird. It’s just sort of them looking at the invite times last year, to looking at who their main competition is from TCNJ or Merchant Marine or Stevens and Bridgeport with one or two guys. They focus on that hand that comes out first, because if you finish first in our conference, you’re most likely getting an NCAA bid. It’s a different conference than it has been in the past, but I think we performed to our highest level.”
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