Home Homepage Latest Stories Montclair State Women’s Swimming and Diving is Having a Season to Remember

Montclair State Women’s Swimming and Diving is Having a Season to Remember

by Demsi Ramirez

The Montclair State University women’s swim team concluded the regular season with a 10-2 record. Since the Red Hawks’ 10-1 season in 1985–86, this is the fourth time in the team’s history that they have finished with double digit wins.

The Red Hawks’ success this season can be largely attributed to head coach Brian McLaughlin, who coaches both the men’s and women’s swim teams. He has persisted in placing a strong focus on training and having a great connection with his athletes.

He guided the Red Hawks to their first double-digit victory in 38 years and remains one of the program’s most successful coaches in the team’s history.

“We have a great class of freshmen, transfers and a pretty strong returning group,” McLaughlin said. “What’s different is this group is better than some groups in previous years. They trained hard in the summer in their club teams, and in NCAA Division III, we have a limited number of days and a shorter season. What they did out of season was really important. That carried through preseason and regular season. When we went to Puerto Rico that carried over.”

What stands out with this group is the relationship they have with coach McLaughlin. Sophomore Madeline Rogers has performed well this year and believes their chemistry has been the difference.

“He’s very close with us, he treats us like we’re his kids, and he acts silly with us like a parent would,” Rogers said.

Rourke Peralta, who is also a sophomore, never thought that she would be in this position.

Sophomores Rourke Peralta (left) and Madeline Rogers (right). Madeline Rogers | The Montclarion

Sophomores Rourke Peralta (left) and Madeline Rogers (right). Madeline Rogers | The Montclarion

“I didn’t know that swimming was a possibility, like it wasn’t something I was looking for in college, but I reached out to coach and he was the first to reach out to me,” Peralta said. “He was the only one that seemed like he wanted me and so I came here, [and I am] so happy I did. I don’t know what I would do without him.”

The women’s squad at Montclair State is among the youngest and has no seniors. However, Rogers and Peralta are a big part of the reason the Red Hawks performed so well.

Both were freshmen last year and learned a lot about what it takes to compete at the collegiate level. Now, they are both contributing to much of Montclair State’s success, and it has been one of their best seasons of all time so far.

“The training and the energy was way different than last year,” Rogers said. “It’s much harder in the intervals we’re swimming in, and the team as a whole is getting much faster.”

“I didn’t think we knew that we were making history at that point because we were just excited to keep winning and we obviously knew we were on a winning streak,” Peralta said. “It felt great as a team all together and once we were told it’s crazy. I think it’s perfect timing to go into NJAC with this kind of energy. Our team has had great energy this entire year, it’s going to help hype us up even more.”

Even with the great season they have had, there have been challenges along the way.

“Our injuries, and making time to take care of ourselves,” Rogers said. “We’ve all been getting sick and just continuing to push and continue the training.”

“Swimming is a hard sport because obviously swimming is team oriented, and we’re together in the pool,” Peralta said. “But it’s very much an individual sport at the end of the day, I’m going to try and swim my best time. My teammate is going to try to swim their best time. We have practice two times a day just in the pool swimming, heads down. It does get a little lonely and not being able to pick up your head and talk to your teammate the entire time.”

These Red Hawks practice as much as any team at Montclair State. They start practicing in the summer with their clubs, during the season twice a day.

“We practice six days a week, we have doubles Monday, Wednesday and Thursday,” Rogers said. “Every practice is hard unless we’re going out to a meet, then we go a little lighter. But usually, practices are fast intervals and a lot of yardage, meaning a lot of laps that we swim during that time. The good thing about training is we all get so close, because we’re going through it together.”

The Red Hawks are hoping to build on their success and enter the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) tournament with a winning mentality.

“The energy is different this year, and the overall confidence the team has is much better than it was last year,” Rogers said. “The practices we swim now weren’t how they were last year and it’s a good thing, because we’re getting faster and I’m pretty confident that we’re going to do well on our last meet.”

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