As the end of the semester slowly approaches, so do does the first half of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving seasons at Wittenberg. The season is split into these two halves based around winter break, with the first half starting in late September and finishing in the beginning of December. The second half starts right after Christmas and ends in the middle of February. This first half is centered around the Transylvania Invitational which will be held from Dec. 7-8 in Lexington, Kentucky.
“We are all pretty excited about the Transylvania Meet,” says junior Jared Crum, “It gives us a chance to show off all our hard work up to this point and set our end of season goals.”
Crum, who specializes in the sprint freestyle events, is a leader in a group of juniors and sophomores who have thrived amidst the shadows of a struggling men’s swim team.
Crum, along with fellow juniors James Dumsdorf (breast/IM/fly), Cameron Mackintosh (free), Ed Young (distance free), and Eric Roberts (diving) and sophomore standout Steve Stuthers (back) have all tallied up several individual wins in meets this year and look for improvements in the future.
The addition of Jacob Griffith (fly) has also made an impact on the team and rounded out the final spot on the men’s medley relay. Also to note, junior AJ Burt (breast/IM/Free) will be returning to the team in the second half of the season after a semester in Washington D.C.
Burt is arguably the best overall swimmer on the men’s team and will make a big impact in improving the men’s team’s current record of 2-3 in dual meets this year. “We lost close meets to both Wooster and Ohio Wesleyan this year, but had we had the points AJ would have scored for us, we would have won,” notes Crum.
On the women’s side, the season has taken a different look so far, as has been the trend in the last couple years. Even after heavy losses from graduation, this year’s women’s team remains strong, winning four of their first five dual meets. The team is led by seniors Sarah Wilson (back/IM) and Molly Gustafson (breast). Gustafson, who placed 7th in the 100 yard breaststroke at NCAA Division III Championship Meet in 2011, will likely miss part of this year due to injury.
The talent does not stop there. Sophomores Madeline Kraft (breast) and Dani Lacy (spring free) have stepped up this season as well as freshman Amy Schultz (fly). Freshman diver Emily Allen has also made a big splash this season by nearly missing an NCAA cut at the first home meet against Wooster, as well as breaking pool and team records in both one and three meter diving.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will have a several week break after the Transylvania Invitational to focus on finals and enjoy their winter break before heading on a bus to Deerfield Beach, FL for the team’s annual training trip. This training trip begins the second half of the season as well as the team’s push toward the NCAC championship meet in February.