I was lucky enough to join the Bates community and coaching staff just 3 short years ago. I was also lucky to work with so many amazing athletes and people over these past 3 seasons. No team is truly better than the last in terms of who they are, and what they have done for the program, but I do think there is a valuable trend developing... one that should be noticed.
Both the men's and women's team did some amazing things these past two weekends - and when you notice just how strong the NESCAC is, I can't help but get excited about what our team has learned about themselves - and the level of competition our men and women get to experience. Ultimately, swimming well in this conference will lead to a smoother transition onto the national level - one that we will surely experience.
For example, our men's team came in fifth in the 200 free relay last weekend. Going 1:24.4 and breaking the school record was fun! As I look to the future though, what I am most excited about is that our time would have won several other conferences championships around the country. In fact, when you look at the national ranking right now, you will see that four of the top ten 200 freestyle relays in the ENTIRE COUNTRY are from our conference (Conn, Tufts, Williams, and Midd). Our men and women continue to get faster racing the best around - and when you are your best against the best, well, it is the ultimate in this sport. That kind of experience surely bodes well for the first Bates relay competing at the National meet!
Check out the quick numbers compiled below. I am sure there are others I am forgetting, but this is what I thought of immediately...
(One thing they do have in common is a relay DQ, but yeah, I haven't made it through a conference meet in over 10 years without one of those - so we don't like to talk about that...)
Overall, the men's team experienced over 60 lifetime bests, and although we weren't perfect, I believe if we continue to improve like that, the program should continue to rise up the conference rankings. NESCACs is tough, and with so many events and so much pressure over 3 days, it is way different than anything we do all year long. We can get even better - and yes, I do look forward to another post in 3 seasons showing the gains we've made!
As Coach Mul would say, "It's a great day to be a Bobcat!"