Swimming & diving: Season ends with 8th place finish at CAAs

By Anthony Gulizia, News Correspondent

The season came to an end for the swimming & diving team as it placed eighth out of nine teams in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championships Feb. 24-27 in Fairfax, Va. The Huskies scored a total of 179 points in the four-day competition.
The squad’s performance in the tournament was bittersweet, head coach Roy Coates said.
“We swam great as a team and the actual performance of our athletes was great, but we finished eighth. That was a disappointment,” Coates said. “The talent and resources of other teams was better, and we need to find a way to overcome that.”
The Huskies’ efforts at the tournament were highlighted by two record-breaking performances. Freshman Cassandra Cesaro set a school record in the 200 meter backstroke with a time of 2:04.55 in the preliminary round. The 400 freestyle relay team also set a record with a time of 3:27.98, finishing sixth in the event. The freestyle team consisted of senior captain Katherine Fugge, juniors Sarah Martin and Rachel Mondello, and freshman Chelsea Lim.
Coates said he was satisfied and impressed with these two performances, as Cesaro and Lim are both walk-ons.
“The performance of these two girls is remarkable, and both girls have improved tremendously throughout the season,” Coates said. “Chelsea was not recruited at all, and Cassie wasn’t recruited as much as the others, and added depth to the team. However, they’ve both worked incredibly hard and proved they belong on the team.”
Overall, Coates said this was a good year for his squad.
“This was really an exceptional year, we beat some great teams like BC and Siena, and personal records were constantly being set,” Coates said. “The Terrier Invite was our only real bump in the road.”
Coates was also satisfied with the performance of his divers, who scored eight points at championships, after only scoring one at last year’s tournament. He attributes the improvement to new diving coach Casey Gon.
“The divers did exceptionally well under Coach Gon and he provided excellence and consistency.”
Looking back on the performance of his seven seniors all season, Coates said he was pleased, especially with the performance of captain Katherine Fugge, Alexis Kalevich, and Alicia Negrotti.
“Alexis and Alicia had outstanding years, definitely the best season they’ve had here,” Coates said. “Katherine had a great year too. Not her best while she was here, however, she was always consistent for us.” Coates also applauded the efforts of captain Jaclyn Dalessandro and Victoria Kalevich.
Going into next season, Coates said he has one goal: To move up in the CAA.
“Eighth place isn’t good, and we need to move up and keep bringing in talented athletes,” Coates said. He will look forward to the return of Erica Smotrycz, who missed the entire season due to a torn labrum, as well as his new recruits. The Huskies will be bringing in eight or nine new athletes to join the squad next season.
While the season has ended for most, it still continues for freshmen Kelly Becherer and Rachel Peterson. Becherer will be competing at the US Paralympics Spring Nationals, which take place in San Antonio, Texas March 25-27. Becherer currently holds four American Paralympic records, and has a chance to qualify for world championships.
“We’re really excited for Kelley, and she is a very talented athlete,” Coates said. “Not only is this a great opportunity to represent Northeastern, but represent the country.”
Sophomore Rachel Peterson will participate in the NCAA Zone Championships, which she qualified for earlier this season. Zones take place this weekend at Rutgers University. According to Coates, this will be a great experience for Peterson, and she will get a good sense of where she ranks among the top divers in the Northeast.
The Huskies will continue with spring training, reducing their workload to eight hours per week. Over the summer, swimmers will train with their respective hometown teams, and action will resume for the Huskies in the fall.