Women’s swimming and diving season update

With a leap and a splash, the women of the swimming and diving team dove right into their season this past October with high hopes for the upcoming year. The Lady Catamounts ended the 2010-2011 season with an overall record of 10-6, and were named fourth in their conference – goals that they aimed to beat this year.

With a large group of 27 returning upperclassmen and eight first-years ready to join in on the craze, the season was expected to be better than before.

“Our girls have been working really hard. Every year we always challenge the upperclassmen to come back in better shape, and they have,” head coach Gerry Cournoyer said at the start of the season — his 11th — at UVM.

The team shows depth — an asset that made it easy for this group of 30 swimmers and five divers to start the season off strong.

As the ladies in green opened up their season at the start of October, they seemed unstoppable. They brought their record to an astonishing school record-breaking 7-0 overall, conquering teams such as Army, Stony Brook and Boston College.

However, the season took an unexpected turn in December, with their first meet of the month at New Hampshire. Vermont broke three of New Hampshire’s pool records and three UVM varsity marks that day, but were unable to win overall, falling for the first time of the season, 168-132.

It seemed as if a trend started after their first loss. Vermont racked up another three losses over the next month, losing two on the road to Central Connecticut State, and at home to Dartmouth and Northeastern.

The loss to Northeastern hit especially close to home as the meet fell on the team’s Senior Day. Prior to the competition, Vermont’s 12 seniors were honored before diving into their own pool for the last time. Four of Vermont’s team members — senior Lauren Colby, junior Kailey Gardner and first-years Ilsa Feierabend and Laura Stephens — earned first place spots that day. However, as a team Vermont came up short, earning second overall.

As the end of January grew close, the ladies of the swimming and diving team were ready to earn another win.

Back in their own pool, the team was able to hold off the University of Rhode Island Rams, earning them a 155-145 victory.

Junior Chelsea Krisanda led Vermont, racking up a pair of wins and giving the rest of her team the drive to earn 1-2-3 in both diving events.

This win was crucial for the women in green, adding to their winning record of 8-4 and reminding them what it was like to be on top.

However, this win was not earned by just one member of the team, but the program as a whole. Much like other teams that represent the University, the ladies in the pool have a team concept that they pride themselves on each and every day.

There is no one swimmer or diver, but there is one team. One team that wins together and loses together, and is made up of players that understand the necessity of personal sacrifices for the team’s benefit.

“I am very pleased with this team’s performance over the season. The ladies have worked very hard both in the pool and in the classroom, and it has paid off. We have a very strong senior class and they have been instrumental in helping the freshman transition into our program,” said Cournoyer.

The Vermont women’s swimming and diving team is currently hard at work training for the America East championship that will be held at the end of the month, when they hope to regain their dominance in the water.