In a season with so much buzz, excitement and high expectations led by a young new first-year head coach, the Prof’s women’s swim program is a program other NJAC teams should take notice of, including at the national level.
Ranked 24th in the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) poll and fourth in the region, Head Coach Elise Blaschke expects the same success as her tenure as the assistant coach.
Under the mentorship of Brad Bowser, who was the head coach for both the men’s and women’s swim team, Elise Blaschke served as his assistant coach for the previous five years.
With Bowser and Blaschke at the helm of both programs, they guided the men’s team to three consecutive NJAC (New Jersey Athletic Conference) titles, including a 17th and ninth finish at the NCAA Division III Championships in 2017-2018 and 2016-2017, respectively.
The women’s swimming and diving team were led to consecutive Metropolitan conference (METs) titles.
With an ample amount of experience and success within the program, Blaschke was officially introduced as the Rowan’s women swimming and diving team head coach last month.
And although Blaschke is recognized as head coach for the women’s team on paper, she believes much of her duty will remain the same.
Blaschke and Bowser will cooperate as a coaching unit to assist one another and hope to lead both programs to consistent success.
“It’s weird. Some of it feels natural and exactly the same. The really good part is that I am still training men and women, just as Brad,” Blaschke said. “So we are fully working together as one unit. The difference for me is now I am creating the meet lineup. So there are certain things I am paying attention to differently than I was previously. The most different feeling is going to be meet days.”
In such an outstanding senior class for the women’s team, Blaschke noted several swimmers that the public must have an eye out for during meet days.
“Main lookout, you’re always going to look out for Carlee Timmins in the distance events,” Blaschke said. “Other senior standouts to look out for, Alex Bambrick… Emily LaBenski.. and Daria Mnich. I think a lot of people are going to impress and surprise us from the start.”
It is no surprise Blashchke mentioned Timmins first.
“She is driven in a different way than she has been for the past three years. She has developed in so many other ways beyond the pool that will help her get through her final year and reach a new level of success.” Blaschke said. “I have never quite met somebody who loves to work as hard as she does. She is a great example for our full program.”
Now a senior, Timmins enjoyed her best season as a Prof last year, shattering school records and receiving first-team All-Conference honors, including the Metropolitan Championships and New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Swimmer of the Year.
The Cherry Hill native is primed to have an improved year and ready to take the next step as a leader of the team.
“I try to push people as much as possible,” Timmins said. “I used to focus on myself, but now since we [seniors] are leaving, I want the team to be just as good as when we were here.”
Since the expectations are high, both programs are seen as a threat to repeat as NJAC champions and reach the ultimate national success.
“We are everyone’s target in the NJAC. Everyone wants to beat us,” Timmins said. “It’s a lot of pressure. But we are confident.”
With Timmins expecting a fourth NJAC title, when it is all said and done by the end of the season, she will leave Rowan University as one of the most decorated swimmers in Profs history.
As the Profs commence their season this Saturday, October 26 at the Esbjornson Gym in Glassboro, against a nationally ranked New York University swimming program, the team is exceedingly ecstatic and quite nervous to begin their journey.
“The team has a lot of excited nerves,” Blaschke said. “They are absolutely nervous. NYU is a top ten program in Division III. It’s always a great meet to start the season. But given the depth of our roster, they are pretty excited to see what they can do.”
When asked whether Blashcke expects a fourth consecutive NJAC title for the program and a third straight METs title for the women’s team, she confidently replied “absolutely.”
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