Despite a 2-6 record, the Montclair State University men’s swimming and diving team have made the best out of a tough situation.
The team has only fielded a 12-man roster for most of the season, with seven of them being freshmen. With a young but promising core, the team has taken some tough losses early in the season as they began by losing four of their first five meets.
However, senior captain Kevin Gibson is pleased with the amount of progress the younger swimmers have made.
“I think they’ve done really well adjusting to the team,” Gibson said. “They’ve been pushing each other very well during practices and keeping their spirits up.”
This has led to notable improvements, as Gibson mentioned that many of the younger swimmers on the team have reached personal records throughout the season.
“The biggest surprise of the season really came from all the freshmen on the team, especially when they all pumped out really fast times and even best times by a large margin at dual meets,” Gibson said.
One freshman who has certainly pumped out some fast times is Samuel Golovin. He has continued his spectacular first-year campaign with times among all New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) competitors in the top 10 in the 100 butterfly (52.96) and 200 butterfly (1:57.89).
Golovin has bigger goals set out in mind though.
“Making it to the NCAA Championships in March is my main individual goal heading into the end of the season,” Golovin said. “I want to be the person to do that for my team.”
The team recently came back from their annual winter training at St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands a couple of weeks ago. While the team was at St. Croix, they not only endured rigorous swimming practices throughout the morning and afternoon, but also intense cardio sessions.
Golovin reflected on a particularly tough moment for the team during their training at St. Croix.
“There was this one running course that we did called ‘The Beast,'” Golovin said. “It was on a high elevation and it was all uphill running. It was insane.”
The rigorous training at St. Corix has paid dividends. The Red Hawks earned a convincing 113-83 victory over the FDU-Fordham Devils on Jan. 14, just a few days after their training. They also competed very well in a tough loss against Ramapo College, 152-110.
With the dual meet season coming to a close, the Red Hawks are focusing more on improving themselves as swimmers and divers, rather than wins and losses.
“Our times are right there with the top-tier teams that we lost to,” Golovin said. “We just don’t have the numbers to compete with these schools.”