Women’s swimming hopes to meet their coach’s expectations at METs

Rowan and USMMA swimmers prepare for the 100 backstroke. Abigail Brous took first in the race and Rowan won the meet 238-62. Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. Multimedia Editor / Dyone Payne.

Before the beginning of her first season, head coach Elise Blaschke was asked about the team’s expectations for this season.

Without delivering any promises, Blaschke mentioned defending their New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship (NJAC) and repeating as Metropolitan Championships (METs) champions. 

By capturing the NJAC title for a fourth straight season in January, the team can potentially meet this expectation this weekend. 

The Rowan women’s swimming and diving team will travel to Rutgers-New Brunswick to compete in the METs Championships on Friday, Feb. 21 through Sunday, Feb. 23. 

METs will be the last team meet of the season. However, it is the moment they have been anticipating since the beginning of the season. 

Competing at METs for the first time, freshman Taylor DeGennaro described her emotions heading into the weekend. 

“Hearing the older girls talk about it makes it very exciting for all of us,” DeGennaro said. “I’m expecting to do very well, we are all seeded very high in all of our events.”

Junior Veronica Alferez will be competing at METs for the third time in her career and will compete in the 500 free, 400 IM and 200 fly events.

“We worked the entire year for this event, literally seven months for it so it is very important,” Alferez said. “We are all excited because we know how much work we put in, we should not be nervous, we’ll do good.”

Based on observing the intensity in the team’s practices and the energy level in team meetings, Blaschke believes her team is rolling into this weekend’s tournament with high confidence. 

“We are at 95%, which is where I exactly want us to be,” Blaschke said. “I don’t want us to be ready to go today, we need to be ready to go Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Being at a 95 confidence level, I think that’s outstanding compared to other years.”

DeGennaro can also attest to her coach’s remarks. 

“Practices have been very challenging,” DeGennaro said. “What we have done in the pool has prepared me and going into [METs] I am not even nervous … I am excited, at WPI I trusted the coach’s process and I did well. I will trust them again and hope I do well again.”

And although the METs tournament will be the last meet for many of the swimmers, others will be competing to possibly qualify for nationals. 

“This is the moment they know they have been training for,” Blaschke said. “So it’s that pinnacle moment at the end where they can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but also their goals is to surpass METs and make the NCAAs [National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament].”

Blaschke revealed some of the swimmers to be on the lookout for who may possibly qualify for nationals. 

“We are really rooting for Carlee Timmons to be reinvited in the mile as she was last year. Abigail Brous has a solid chance, she can perform in that 100 back,” Blaschke said. “But I don’t want them to think about when they go into the race. They need to know to articulate the races well, swimming them as they practiced, and not just swim with the full intention of moving on.”    

With a team full of experience, leadership and talent, the 18th ranked team in the nation are destined to repeat as METs champions and fulfill their coach’s expectations. 

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