Just last weekend, the Westmont swimming team returned to the Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference (PCSC) Championships for the second time in the program’s history. Though all other Westmont sports compete in Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC), swim competes in the PCSC, which includes NAIA D1 and D2 schools, along with D3 NCAA schools.
The championships were mentally and emotionally grueling for the Warriors, yet the team members can say with confidence that they ended their season on a high note.
Over the course of the weekend, they combined for 22 career- and season-best times across multiple events, and second-year Morgan Bienias came in second overall in the 1650-yard freestyle, finishing higher than any other Westmont swimmer in program history.
The team also said goodbye to two senior members of the team — Hannah Thompson and Ceili Smaw — who have been members of Westmont Swimming since the program’s inception last year. They made their presence known over the weekend, as Thompson set two career bests and Smaw came within one second of a career best.
I asked third-year Holley Fellows to give me her thoughts about the championships and the season as a whole.
She said, “We added seven members to our team this year, each of whom have added something special to the team dynamic. It was really remarkable to see most everyone on our team get season- or lifetime-best times at our conference championship meet. I think that success is a great tribute to the grit, dedication and perseverance our team has shown this season, none of which would have been possible without Coach Jill.”
Although COVID-19 has proved difficult for the team in more ways than one, the Warriors have taken it all in stride. At the PCSC Championships, COVID-19 restrictions required the swimmers to be ready to go at 9 a.m. for their first event. This didn’t slow down first-year Bridget Hoth, second-year Rian Lewandowski, first-year Morgan Shattuck and second-year Kassy Gregory as they finished the 200-yard freestyle relay with their best time of the season.
I asked Fellows how COVID-19 restrictions changed things for the team.
She responded, “Most of us had to find alternative ways to train in pre-season and during breaks because many pools still remained closed. First semester, we also had to compete in ‘virtual meets.’ With nationals getting canceled this year, we felt extra lucky to still be able to have a conference championship meet. All season long, we had to adjust because sometimes there was no opportunity to warm up or cool down, and even times when we were able to, it was pretty limited.”
Based on this season, Westmont Swimming seems like the team to look out for, going forward. Finishing No. 8 in the conference championships, despite only being two years old, says a lot about the talent and dedication of this team. Whatever the future holds for the Warriors, there is no doubt that they are ready for it.