With “Fire Burning” by Sean Kingston blaring at the Tony Lisa Natatorium, Head Coach Elise Fisher and the Rowan women’s swim team prepared for their first meet on Saturday, Oct. 22, against New York University.
The reigning New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) champions are predicted to repeat according to the conference’s preseason poll.
Last season, the Profs went 6-0-1 overall with four of those wins against teams in the NJAC. Rowan performed better at home, capturing four of their six wins in Glassboro.
The final days of the preseason mark the fifth week of training for the team. Coach Fisher compared the week to last season’s week five.
“Our base intervals and what we’re doing in practice is faster and more powerful,” Coach Fisher said.
Senior Jordan McChesney, a captain last year, noted how these practices help her perform under pressure.
“In our training, we put ourselves in a lot of positions where we are asked to do things at a high level while we are broken down,” McChesney said. “So that type of training, where you’re putting yourself in uncomfortable positions is definitely helpful.”
McChesney clocked in a season-best time in not only the 50 free (24.18), but also the 100 free (52.80) at last season’s NJAC Championships.
She was also a part of the 400 medley relay at the Metropolitan Swimming and Diving Championships (METS). Along with McChesney were Elizabeth Jones, and the recently graduated Veronica Alferez and Kylie Salerno. The group put up a season-best time of 3:34.89, finishing in fourth.
Regarding long-term goals, Coach Fisher and the team want to reach the same level of success they had last year, where along with the NJAC title, they placed third overall at the METS.
“I think a realistic goal would be at least to get second at METS this year. I am always aiming to win METS, we did win several times in years past, pre-pandemic, but a realistic goal for this season is to continue to build and hone in on that second place,” Coach Fisher said. “Further are the NCAA meets and I think for our program it would be realistic to have a relay that is invited as well as one or two individuals.”
Their training was put to the test Saturday in their first meet of the season against New York University (NYU). The Profs have not competed against NYU since October 2019. Going into this meet, Rowan is 0-7 all-time against NYU and dropped this one 167-90.
Prior to Saturday’s meet, Coach Fisher made it clear she was looking at the details that will become more refined as the season progresses such as dolphin kicks, cleaner starts and finishes.
This meet had a lot of significance for McChesney, as she started her collegiate career against NYU.
“That’s bittersweet,” McChesney said prior to the meet. “NYU is a fantastic team, they are one of the top Division III teams, so to be able to race them is a really great starting point because we get to see where we’re at… and it emulates what we will do against Montclair and TCNJ and definitely at METS. So it puts us in a great position.”
When asked about her goals this season, McChesney focused more on how her teammates have impacted her.
“Obviously I have individual goals and individual times that I want to hit, but it becomes more about the team,” McChesney said. “I wanna see the team do well. My teammates, my friends, they are my friends, and I wanna see them do well. That’s really what it comes down to.”
Other swimmers coming off big 2021-22 seasons are sophomores Bella Stefanowicz and Emma Padros.
Stefanowicz was named NJAC Rookie of the Year for the 2021-2022 season, and at the NJAC Championships, she won the 100 back (1:09.65) and the 200 breaststroke, recording a season-high time of 2:31.18.
Padros won the 1000 free with a time of 11:04.33 and the 200 backstroke (2:13.82) at the NJAC Championships. She placed second in the 1650 free at the METS, recording a time of 18:04.10.
Saturday was just the beginning for a team looking to go back-to-back in their conference and secure a better place at the METS.
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