Head coach Matthew Jabs and the coaching unit, families and fans got an official first look at the East Carolina University swim team as it held its annual Purple Gold intrasquad meet beginning this past Friday.
While this was the first meet of the year, this was also the first meet since the internal investigation for the program that cost them almost three weeks of practice, as well as the first official meet for Jabs. The excitement of the team was felt throughout the whole Natatorium, the indoor swimming arena for the Pirates, as teammates cheered each other on as they competed against one another on separate purple and gold teams.
“Before the meet, I asked for energy, good racing, to come in and I saw that today,” Jabs said. “Both sides were cheering, both sides were into the meet. Nobody was just kind of off doing their own thing, which is important for what we want to do.”
The team managed to set five new intrasquad meet records as freshman Jack Arentewicz teamed up with sophomore Gus Santos and seniors Boleck De Pawlikowski and John Myhre to set the new 200-yard individual medley relay record when they captured first place.
Also in the men’s 200-yard freestyle relay at the end of the meet, Myhre, Santos and juniors Victor Martins Dos Santos and Gavin Erdmann finished first and rewrote another record in the intrasquad meet record book.
In the women’s 200-yard freestyle relay, sophomore Catherine Johnson joined up with seniors Logan Graumann, Erin Polich and Tori Angermeier to set the new meet record in that event as well.
Senior Vendela Norrman also came in a record-setting first place during the 200-yard breaststroke race, while fellow senior Jule Lajoie added the fifth and final record on the day in the women’s 200-yard individual medley race.
“Overall, I think the team did really well. We still have a long way to come,” Lajoie said. “It’s only the beginning of the season and we have until February, so I’m very happy with how the team performed.”
Because this was a intrasquad meet, individual times were not released for the swimmers’ performances. Times will be released for the season when the Pirates begin dual meets. Record times recorded at the event will still count going forward, however, and can be accessed at a later date, according to sports director Jody Jones.
While this meet was competitive, it was not as competitive as the ones ECU will face down the road during the season. This meet is more treated as an “opening meet” to get everyone used to swimming again, but should be taken seriously in order to record accurate times, according to Jabs.
“The meet was competitive in (the sense of) every time we got on the blocks, whether we’re teammates or not, we’re trying to beat everybody else in the pool- from that aspect, it was competitive,” Jabs said. “It was not competitive because we were going against our teammates. They did what they needed to do, so we’re pretty happy about that.”
Along with new records being set, this was the first time the freshman swimmers competed on the collegiate level. They were able to get a sneak peek of what to expect when they start facing other schools’ programs. Some of the freshmen stepped up to the challenge and had very strong debuts as they managed to place first in a few events.
In the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke, Arentewicz placed first with a fast time to start out his freshman season. Freshman swimmer Hannah Nissen also took first in one of her events, the 200-yard backstroke, in her debut.
“We are hungry,” Erdmann said. “We want to get better and continue our legacy. Our goal in the end is to win another conference championship and achieve a four-peat at the end of the season.”
At the end of the meet, the Gold team pulled out a 208-206 victory over the Purple team in what came down to the final events of the day. The first dual competitive meet will be held on Oct. 6 as the Pirates travel to face Navy in Annapolis, Maryland.