Women’s swimming likes chances at Metropolitan Championships

Senior Julia DelNero (above) currently holds the best times on the team in the 500, 1,000 and 1,650 freestyles. Rowan will face 19 other programs, including NJAC opponents, at the three-day Metropolitan Championships beginning Friday, Feb. 19. -Photo courtesy of Sports Information

Positive energy radiates from the Rowan women’s swimming and diving team, who head into their final week of preparation leading up to the Metropolitan Championships.

Historically, the Profs have done rather well at the multi-team conference meet. A year ago, Rowan took home fifth place out of 18 and have finished sixth or better in each of the past six seasons.

Despite all their past success, however, the Profs face an uphill battle at this year’s championships. While the team has performed at a high caliber this season, their lack of numbers and depth presents a significant disadvantage.

“It’s so hard to predict where the team will finish,” said head coach Brad Bowser. “It’s difficult to compare this year’s team to last year’s team. Last year we just had a lot more bodies, which creates more points. Is this team faster than last year’s team? Yes. But, we’re missing a few bodies, which hurts us points-wise.”

Rowan has been overcoming adversity all season. And in this situation, too, can overcome the challenge ahead; what the team lacks in numbers, they make up for in performance and effort.

“The team definitely performs well under pressure,” said senior Julia DelNero. “We definitely proved that against Ramapo and Montclair. I think that being under the pressure of wanting to succeed will help us all swim better.”

One of the squad’s strong points heading into the Metropolitan Championships is their relay teams. On paper, all five of Rowan’s relays match up well against those of the 19 other colleges and universities participating in the meet.

Compared to the other teams, Rowan ranks fifth in the 200 freestyle relay (1:39.58), seventh in the 400 freestyle relay (3:43.82), ninth in the 800 freestyle relay (8:12.04) and seventh in the 200 (1:50.82) and 400 (4:05.27) medley relays.

“I think all the relays are going to do amazing [at the Metropolitan Championships],” said sophomore Polina Dineva. “I know personally I have always swam better when competing in a relay for my team. The energy is always so high and positive when you are swimming in a relay. I think everyone will do great.”

In addition to their relay team, the Profs are also expecting strong performances in individual events.

In recent years, both DelNero and senior captain Olivia Wojtowicz have had success at the Metropolitans. Last year, Wojtowicz finished seventh in both “A” Finals for the 200 individual medley (2:10.91) and 100 breaststroke (1:08.34), while DelNero finished sixth in both “A” Finals for the 500 (5:16.92) and 1650 (18:12.30) freestyles.

“I definitely have a pretty open mindset [heading into the Metropolitan Championships],” DelNero said. “I’ve had an open mindset all year and it has done me nothing but the best this year. I am definitely going to keep my mind open and hope for the best for myself and the team.”

With a little more than a week remaining, the Profs will continue to “work out some of the kinks” before they travel to Rutgers University in New Brunswick for the Metropolitan Championships on Friday, Feb. 19.

For questions/comments about this story, email sports@thewhitonline.com or tweet @TheWhitSports.