Swim and Dive Host Weekend Meets
Women’s Team Pulls off First Win of the Season
By Marc DeMartis ’21
This weekend the Providence College Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Teams had two meets against two different opponents. The first was on Friday against Iona College. Unfortunately, the Friars did not come away with the win, but it was a hard-fought meet.
The team seemed to lack energy in the first half, losing the majority of their events. However, the Friars came back in the second half looking alive and shifting the momentum in their favor.
Andrew Ferrell ’21 said, “We were deflated in the first half of the meet, which allowed them to take advantage and keep their momentum going. But we picked up the energy in the second half of the meet and although we performed much better in the second half, it doesn’t matter at the end of the day since we still lost.”
The Friars’ loss in their meet against Iona could have been due to the number of swimmers missing due to injury or sickness. Parker Cramer ’21 explained, “We’ve had a lot of injuries and illnesses plaguing our team this past week, which did not help us when it came to training for these meets. We weren’t as prepared as we could’ve been against Iona but we made those adjustments against Fairfield and it made it a much better meet.”
The Friars woke up Saturday morning ready to take on Fairfield University. Determined to avoid two consecutive losses, the team rose to the occasion, and the fans were extremely engaged in each and every event because of how close it was the entire time.
The men’s team lost 154-137, but the women’s team saved the day on their end, winning 151-149. It was an exhilarating meet to say the least; the final event decided whether or not the meet would end in a loss or split for the Friars.
Jamie Eigner ’21 described the meet as “definitely one of our most competitive and exhilarating meets that we’ve had considering it came down to the last relay.” Luckily, the women’s team came up clutch and got the job done to avoid back-to-back losses this weekend.
Despite the men’s team losing the majority of their events, they set a new school record for the 800 meter freestyle relay with a time of 8:01.19.
Eigner also mentioned, “All of our guys were there for each other the entire meet and I think we all did great. Looking ahead, we look forward to what’s to come in the future and are ready to remain positive and train hard every day for the rest of the season.”
With newcomers like Taylor Loud ’23 on the women’s team, the Friars seem to be in good hands going forward. Loud impressed after placing first in the 100 meter freestyle event against both Iona and Fairfield.
The women’s swim and dive team participated in a tri-meet this Wednesday, November 6 against the University of Rhode Island and Sacred Heart University at 6 p.m.
PC Swimming and Diving Makes Waves to Fight Cancer
Team Raises $30,101 for Cancer Research
By Liza Sisk ’19
This past weekend, the Providence College Men’s and Women’s Swim Teams left the comfort of their home pool, the Taylor Natatorium, and braced the cold ocean current in the waters of Narragansett, Rhode Island. Their venture into the open water was motivated by their determination to raise money for cancer research.
On Sept. 8, the Friars participated in the annual Swim Across America (SAA) event. The race is hosted by the SAA organization as a fundraiser to support doctors with ideas to fight cancer who are struggling to receive funding for clinical trials and research. The organization holds races nationwide. The swim is open to athletes of any age and skill level and typically offers both a half mile and a 1-mile race.
This season, SAA hosted 18 open-water swims at locations across the United States. They also offer the opportunity for individuals to hold pool races to contribute to their cause.
The beneficiaries of the funds raised during the respective races are cancer research facilities in the direct community where the race took place. The goal of SAA is to “fund $100 million in the next decade, to speed up cures for cancer.”
Saturday’s event took place at the Roger Wheeler Beach in Narragansett. The Friars participated in the one-mile swim. This year, the event attracted over 600 participants, many of whom represented collegiate swim teams across New England. The Narragansett-based event raises funds specifically for gynecological and breast cancer research at the Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island.
Providence College has been participating in the event since its inaugural year nine years ago. Coach John O’Neill is on the commitee that brought the event to Rhode Island and is committed to cultivating it into one of the largest SAA events in the nation. Each year the team promotes the event amongst family and friends, and on social media, and where they raise money to contribute to research.
This year, as a program, the Friars was the highest fundraising team, raising $30,101 to support the local hospital. The swim itself collected $204,641 nearly reaching their goal of $210,000 with time still left to donate. In the nine years that the Friars have been involved with SAA, they have raised over $175,000.
The event not only attracted 600 participants, but four Olympic swimmers also made appearances at the race. Craig Beardsely (1980), Elizabeth Beisel (2008, 2012, 2016), Alex Meyer (2012), and Clara Walker LaMore (1948) supported the Rhode Island race and were available for photos and additional inspiration. These four Olympic athletes along with over 100 Olympians promote SAA events annually, generating awareness and raising donations for the beneficiaries of the races.
O’Neill made the following statement after the meet: “We would like to again thank the leaders of every college program for continuing to join us helping in the fight against cancer. The big winners on this day each year are the patients who will benefit from the outstanding doctors and research specialists at Women and Infants Hospital.”
Liam Straker ’19 is serving as a captain for the Friars. He reflected upon the significance of the program’s participation in such a powerful event and explained that “it’s important to take a step back and appreciate how lucky we are to have our health. It’s something I know I take for granted almost every day.”
Straker shared that the event is particularly important because “everyone’s life has been touched by cancer, so it’s really something that hits home for all of us.” Straker expresses his pride in the program for “making the commitment to this event year after year,” and is “grateful for the support [they’ve] received along the way.”
PC Swim Gets ready for Big East
Swim Team Heads to Ohio to Face-Off Against Big East Rivals
by Jeremy Perrigo ’18
February has come at last, and for the Providence College Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Team, this marks the end of a rigorous six months of training and competition that began back in early September.
The Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving teams travel to Geneva, Ohio on Feb. 21 for four days in the pool in a six-way battle against Big East conference rivals Seton Hall University, Georgetown University, Villanova University, Xavier University, and Butler University for the Big East Championship.
For a few Friars, this competition marks the last of their collegiate career. Alexandra Kartsounis ’18 shared her thoughts on what it will take to find success in Ohio, “Definitely working together, staying together, keep each other in a positive situation because it is a four-day-long meet and we have prelims in the morning, finals in the afternoon. It is just a lot going on and chemistry I think is really important.”
Leadership is an important aspect of any sports team, and as freshmen go on to become seniors, their roles change. When questioned about how her responsibility on the team has changed, Kartsounis had a few words to add about her fellow teammates, saying “It definitely puts you in a leadership position. I am not captain this year. My captains are Erin Cunningham ’18 and Katie Fallon ’18 and they both do an excellent job leading the team.” She went on to note that leadership can be found across the board, “I think it is important for all the seniors to kind of take that leadership role, and I think everyone does a pretty good job doing that. Mostly just lead by example and keep a positive attitude, I think is really important.”
The Friars are trying to use the championship to rebound from a disappointing loss in their last competition, a tri-meet against Georgetown and Seton Hall, “We all raced pretty well, but we lost to both teams. I think that meet is pretty difficult for our team just because it is so close to our championships so we have all been beaten down by training really hard. But overall I think everyone pulled through and had some pretty good times.”
When asked if a single team stood out from the rest going into the competition, Kartsounis, who specializes in backstroke and butterfly, pointed to one school in particular. “Butler is our closest competition; all the other schools are pretty strong but we always go and race our hardest.”
She also mentioned a group of Friars that she believes do not get enough credit for the boost they add to final scores: the divers. “The divers are super important to us because they contribute to the pointing scales.” She mentioned one teammate in particular. “Kendall Jerzyk ’18 made Big East and she is one of the top [divers] on the diving team and I do not think people give her enough credit. She gives us a bump up in our pointing scale,” Kartsounis said.
While cohesion amongst teammates is important, coaching plays just as integral a role, and good coaching is essential for any team that hopes to be successful. Kartsounis elaborated on the impact her coaches have had on her swimming career. She began with the man in charge, saying, “Our head coach John O’Neill is great, he has led our team through some good wins and tough losses but definitely kept us going through.”
Not forgotten is the impact of assistant coaches. “I also want to give note to Ken Reall, we got him my sophomore year I believe and he has a great swim background, great resume, and overall just a really good person and great motivator. I definitely think he has had a big impact on my swimming career here,” Kartsounis added.
The Friars have high hopes for the week ahead. For some athletes, the event marks the beginning of more to come. For this group of seniors, it presents the opportunity to put an exclamation point on an eventful four years.
Swim Team Gears Up for Big Meet
By Meaghan Cahill
The second biggest meet of the season is on the horizon for the Providence College Men’s and Women’s Swim and Dive Teams. The Harold Anderson Invitational, which takes place this year at the University of Rhode Island, is “treated as the Big East Championsips,” according to Madeline Snow ’19.
Coming up on the mid-point of their season, Snow reflected, “We’ve had a pretty good season with several [swimmers] already qualifying for Big East.” While past meets have been used as preparation for the Harold Anderson Invitational, Snow claims, “It’s been a tough line-up so far, we haven’t necessarily won a lot, but that doesn’t mean we are not performing well.”
Snow is certainly correct in her statement that the team is performing well this season. Several team members have already scored qualifying times for the Big East Championship and their success does not stop there. During their meet against Fairfield University on Nov. 4, two members of the swim team broke school records.
While the women’s team did not win the meet, losing 184.5-113.5, Lauren Zawacki ’21 had a standout meet where she broke a 27-year-old record in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 26.84 seconds. “Lauren, she’s awesome! She broke the school record by .4 seconds, which for a 50 is monumental. It’s huge!” Snow commented.
Along with Zawacki, Patrick Brannigan ’20 also broke a school record that he set himself the year before in the men’s 50-meter freestyle. Originally, Brannigan broke the record in 2016 with a time of 24.11 seconds and this year, he shaved 0.23 seconds off of his time to set a new school record of 23.88 seconds. That same day, Brannigan also won the men’s 100-meter freestyle with a time of 53.49 and was on the winning Men’s 200-meter medley relay team.
“PK really puts in the work and deserves to do well,” Snow said. Individual success has been very prominent within the team this season, but the team as a whole is coming together as well, as they look for overall team success. According to Snow, “The team is in better shape this season than past seasons. There is a good work ethic and everyone comes prepared.” When questioned on how the freshmen are adjusting to being a part of the team, Snow stated, “The freshmen have all been awesome additions and really add to the team’s depth.”
Entering her final two seasons on the team, Snow’s main concern is “that the team is doing well” but that does not stop her from looking to improve her own ranking. On her own swim career up until this point, Snow acknowledged that “there is definitely room for improvement to excel and be in a position in the team’s [top rankings]”.
Using the next two weeks leading up to the Harold Anderson Invitational to “rest and work on getting best times to qualify [for Big East],” Snow expresses the team’s need to “keep the work ethic going” as their main goals as they enter into the final stages of their season.