The East Carolina University swim team and head coach Matthew Jabs look to bounce back from their first loss of the season with a victory at home in their Tri-Meet on Saturday.
This past weekend, the men’s team fell to Navy on the road 98.5-193.5, while the women fell in a somewhat closer fashion 182.5-117.5.
Despite the loss, senior Julie Lajoie brought success for the women’s team. Lajoie placed first in the 500-yard freestyle race with a time of 5:05.13 and the 200 Individual Medley (IM) with a time of 2:05.91.
“Motivation helped me do well,” Lajoie said. “Knowing that it was the first meet on the road, and having the team behind me cheering for me helped me prevail.”
The women’s team won the diving side of the meet as senior Alicia Roueche placed first in the 1-meter competition with a score of 263.78 while junior Sarah Blank prevailed in the 3-meter diving competition with a score of 269.70.
“The outcome on the scoreboard was not exactly how we wanted,” Jabs said. “I saw that we swam better than we did at purple and gold. As a team we swam well, we had individuals swim very well. Our divers did outstanding. We started a little slow, and we got behind, there was not much coming back from that. I expect that we improve a great deal going into this meet just as we did from purple and gold to Navy.”
After its loss to Navy, ECU is looking to turn things around as it hosts Gardner Webb, William and Mary and Campbell University at home.
William and Mary was the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) swimming champions this past season in both men's and women's swimming. The Gardner Webb men’s team finished third in the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association swimming championships, while the women’s team placed second overall. Campbell University finished sixth this past year in the CCSA championships.
“William and Mary are very talented and very well coached,” Jabs said. “Gardner Webb and Campbell also have talented athletes that will be some races for us. We set forth trying to be better, taking that step at Navy the bar is a little higher, we have to better.”
Having home pool advantage can bring an extra level of motivation, not only to the swimmers, but the coaching staff as well. Being the first home meet of the year as they try to bounce back from Navy brings even more pressure and motivation to the team.
“We are all excited to race at home,” senior Boleck De Pawlikowski said. “To have a home crowd and perform for people in Greenville, it brings a lot of pressure, it is the first one. We have to show out and show everyone here that we are ready this year.”
After giving families and fans the opportunity to see what the swim team was like in the Purple Gold meet, they now are given the opportunity to see how the team does against other schools. The swim team has worked hard and stayed focused throughout the week in practice to prepare themselves for that amount of pressure this weekend.
“Having a positive attitude knowing that we have worked hard, energy and confidence can help us prevail this weekend,” Lajoie said. “We have potential to do great at this meet, and we had a great week of practice so we should do well.”
ECU will have the opportunity to not only defend home turf this Saturday, but also the opportunity to set the tone for other opponents when they come to Minges Natatorium.