On Saturday, Oct. 8, the Brits hosted Wabash College and Hillsdale College for their first meet of the year. Against Wabash, the men defeated the Little Giants 213-87, and the women were able to take down Hillsdale, 158-133. The meet will help prepare each team for the MIAA relays on Friday, Oct. 21.
“Wabash has beat us the past two years on the men’s side,” said Head Coach Jake Taber. “On paper it could be a really good meet. As for Hillsdale and the women, it’s always good to go up against scholarship programs. They had a little more depth than we did last year, but we’re going to try to put our best foot forward on Saturday.”
This season brings a new class of 17 swimmers and divers to the team, and the class of 2020 is a strong one. On the men’s side, Mac Robertson, a first-year from Zeeland, Michigan, already competed in his first collegiate meet. Robertson was the first Division-III swimmer to cross the finish line at the Open Water Championships in Lawrence, Kansas.
For the women, Alex Horman, a first-year from Grand Rapids, is coming into the season with a time in the 100 butterfly that is below the school record of 58.25 seconds. The record was set last season by Anna Moore, a Battle Creek sophomore.
“Our best event on the women’s side is hands down the 100 fly,” said Taber. “On paper, we technically have the two best 100-flyers in Albion College history on the roster.”
According to Taber, the men’s best event really depends on if you’re talking about a conference meet or a national meet. On a national scale, Taber sees the one-meter dive being their strongest event. Henry Swett, a sophomore from Marshall, finished 15th at last year’s DIII National Championships. Just ahead of him was Nick Burris, a sophomore from Chelsea, Michigan, who finished sixth at the DIII National Championships.
“To have two sophomores that both scored at the national meet in Jake Burris and Henry Swett, outside of one or two teams, I think that’s the best one-two combo nationwide,” said Taber.
From a conference standpoint, the depth in the 200 individual medley is their strongest asset. Taber said that the team is going to look at where it is strongest and where the league has some weak spots so that they can maximize their points in the MIAA Championship meet.
Something that the team must do every year is make the first-years feel welcomed and engaged. In the Brits’ swimming and diving experience, most of that falls on the upperclassmen, according to Taber. The first-years are looking up to the returners early in the season, but Taber feels the newcomers can make an immediate impact in the water.
“Once they come into their own, we will see more of their personality come out,” said Taber.
Before winning a conference championship, Taber wants his team to meet two goals, perform better than they ever have before and have more fun than they’ve ever had at their meets. While those two goals go hand-in-hand, they seem to be at the forefront of the Brits’ swimming and diving teams.
Along with performing and having fun at the meets, Taber stressed the mindset of “pressure is a privilege.” He said that in the past four years, they’ve seen more meaningful swims and dives, and he wants his team to be able to recognize that those instances are a privilege.
“[It’s] something that we’ve earned, and that pressure is a good thing. We want to embrace it, have fun with it and hopefully rise to it,” said Taber.
Photo by Steve Marowski