The Babson women’s and men’s swimming and diving teams have had quite an exciting semester with a particular spike the weekend from Feb 20th to 23rd when they competed in the annual New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). NEWMAC is an organization of 11 selective universities that have come together to ensure the opportunity for high-quality athletic competition for student-athletes of NCAA Division III schools. After a strong season for both women’s and men’s swimming and diving, the two teams headed down to MIT’s Sports and Fitness Center in Cambridge, MA to begin the 4-day long competition. Both the women’s and men’s teams were set to compete in 20 events each spread out over the days with. Last year the men’s team placed 4th and women’s placed 7th which was both teams' best respective finishes in the last eight years. The women’s team set 4 school records and had the highest point total since 2005 and the men’s team set 10 program records and had the highest point total since 2014. Both teams set three records each in relay events. So this year’s teams had the bar set high yet they managed to reach it and set their own bar.
The swimming and diving teams had a strong start on the first morning combining to break three school records and first-year diver John Arsenault placing 6th in the 1-meter dive. “It was really fun and surprising to everyone (including myself) to walk onto the team this past fall with no experience. Competing in NEWMAC was so exciting and nerve-wracking because I didn’t expect to make it until next year,” said Arsenault.
One of the most highlighted players of the men’s swimming and diving team throughout this year's NEWMAC competition was Aaron Hyunh from Mission Viejo, California. Hyunh played a big part in the men’s team placing 5th overall in the competition by bettering his own times for the 50 and 200-yard freestyle. On Friday, February 21st, the Beavers totaled 149 points which brought them to 5th place which is the place they ended up finishing in on Sunday the 23rd with 463 points. Just four points behind 4th place Springfield. The women’s team started off strong on Thursday and followed through to Friday with Caitlin Caron, Tirza Rentovich, and Abigail Voce setting records in the 50 and 500-yard freestyle and setting two more records during the relay portion later in the evening. On Saturday, sophomore Elizabeth Demoine shone in the 100-yard butterfly and finished 10th in the B final of the 100-yard breaststroke.
On the final night of competition, the women’s team set two more school records to finish 7th overall for the second consecutive year. Although the men’s and women’s teams compete separately they are unified under their coach Kristy Martin Jones. Martin has been with the Beavers for 4 seasons and has guided the teams to the most dual meet victories since 2002 during the 2017-18 season. First-year Erin Sweeney speaks to the team dynamics saying, “It was pretty satisfying and made us feel like all the training had paid off after we did well at NEWMAC,” conveyed Sweeney. This goes to show that strong leadership is one of the key aspects of a strong team.
Article by Lada Peshkovsky
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