November 10, 2006

Men's swimming looks to stay the course

For men’s swimming, this season’s task is a simple but challenging one: Keep the program on the rise.

Thanks in large part to the opening of the Myers-McLoraine Pool in 2003 and expanded recruitment efforts, the Maroons have continued their slow but steady climb from the deep end of their conference over the past three years. The squad reached new heights at the end of 2005 when it captured a sixth-place finish at the UAA championships, and the pressure is on for this 2006 team to one-up last year’s achievements. This will mean ranking in the top five of the ultra-competitive UAA and sending some individual swimmers as well as a few relay teams to nationals.

“This should be a break-out year for the guys’ team,” head coach Jason Weber said. “They’re really strong, and they’re a good freshman class. They’re going to be even better next year and the year after that, but this should be a break-out year.”

After starting the season with an encouraging 3–0 mark, the Maroons’ are off to the strong start they need if they want to meet those goals. A convincing 146–79 trouncing of IIT kicked off the Maroons season, and the squad continued to dominate opponents when it won 10 of 13 events at the Illinois Wesleyan University Triangular to beat its two foes by 69- and 56-point margins.

“I think the guys’ team has a very good shot of going undefeated in our dual-meets season this year,” Weber said. “Right now, our focus is on conference. Next year, we could start focusing on national championships.”

The young but talented South Siders have gotten a serious boost this fall from some key returning players who have hit their peak forms right out of the gate.

“Both teams are still growing, and both teams have a lot of potential,” Weber said. “We are in one of the toughest conferences in Division III. I think any other conference we can get first or second, but this one’s pretty tough.”

Spotlight on Pat Seastedt

While the men’s side is overflowing with talent and has a couple of potential NCAA qualifiers on the deck this year, fourth-year captain Pat Seastedt provides a veteran presence to go with his place as one of the team’s best swimmers. He may be a stroke or two behind second-year record buster Shane Carlson, but his role as captain puts the task of steadying this young squad on his shoulders. Helping to keep the Maroons on track could be the make-or-break point to their success.

Specializing in the breaststroke, the Lakewood, NY native is on the fast track to nationals and shows the potential to be a league champion. In his two events so far this season, Seastedt has taken top honors both times, slapping the wall in the 100-meter breaststroke at 1:01.33 and coming in the 200-meter at 2:20.08.