by Caroline McCarthy & Nicole Rodriguez Sports Editor & Production Editor
In their first win since 2019, the Manhattan College women’s swim team dominated against Kean University and St. Peter’s University last Saturday, Nov. 20.
The team, led by new coach Erick Rasmussen Jr. and captains Mackenzie Tuttle and Katelyn Hall, earned first place in a Tri-Meet against Kean University and St. Peter’s University.
Manhattan, a much smaller program than most schools they compete against, struggles to win meets because of sheer numbers – the more athletes competing in a race, the more points available for the team to score.
Freshman Kate Maio credits this win to the team learning how to work together to achieve a common goal.
“The tri-meet, in my opinion, was one of the best meets of the season so far,” said Maio. “Not just because of the win but because we really came together as a team.”
Maio, who surprised herself by winning the individual 50 fly event, swam in five events last weekend.
In addition to their strong team dynamic, the swimmers also credit their tri-meet win to their new coach’s positive influence and presence this season.
“Erick has really helped us improve this season, especially after not being in the pool and competing for a while,” said Maio. “He started the job with a lot to clean up after, and he still has a lot of work to do, but I feel as if he’s doing his best and really motivating us as a team for the MAAC.”
Captain Mackenzie Tuttle described how Rasmussen’s personalized approach in coaching has greatly motivated and united the team like never before.
“He has had individual meetings with all of us, asked us our majors, what we want to do with our lives and stuff like that, like personal connections and I feel like he is willing to go the distance with us,” said Tuttle.
This weekend the team is competing in the Eastern College Athletic Conference mid-season championship.
In preparation for the Eastern College Athletic Conference mid-season championship, the team undergoes specific race-based practices to determine which team member is the best fit for each spot.
“We figure out who has the absolute fastest time in each spot and then kind of construct those relays and it changes meet to meet, but for a championship meet like this it’s more important to put your best foot forward obviously,” said Tuttle. “So we want to have our best girls in the best spot and then when it comes to the individual events, like you can swim what you want to swim, but of course we want to do who has the fastest times and put them in the best possible position yet.”
Preparation for a regular meet, a mid-season championship and the MAAC championship greatly differ. Junior Teddy Segmuller explained the difference between training for a mid-season championship as opposed to their training for the MAAC championship in February.
“For the MAAC championship, we get tapered and practices are less intense and just more like, specifically focused. Whereas like right now we’re just kind of doing everything the same and kind of seeing how it goes.” said Segmuller.
With their first win in years, the team is building momentum for the upcoming championship season.
“I look forward to seeing what this team is capable of, including myself. We’ve all been working really hard, especially because we had a late start to the season,” said Maio. “I’m looking forward to the training trip and working hard to improve to get to my best and even better for the MAAC, and honestly seeing everyone else at their best as a team.