The men’s and women’s swimming and diving team here at the Mount just released their schedule for the upcoming season. Last year was the inaugural season for the men’s team, with the veteran women’s team completing their 12th season. Both teams are under the direction of Head Coach Neil Yost, who has been leading the women’s swim team since their inception in 2006. Coming off a winless season last year, the men’s team has nowhere to go but up, while the women have the ability to hold on to their winning record from last year.
2017 has brought some significant changes to the men’s roster. The team has grown modestly from 12 swimmers last season to 16 swimmers this season. A large part of the growth is due to the heavy recruitment the team has done. There are nine first year student athletes on the roster. This increase in size would help the Mount score more points in each event leading to a better score overall.
Certainly, under the direction of an experienced coach and given enough time, the men’s team will reach success this season. “I would be really surprised if we are winless this year,” Yost commented. With one season under their belt, the men’s team will continue to grow this year. “There is a potential of a winning record this year,” he added.
The more substantial women’s team roster remains the same size as last year at 27 swimmers. This season brings in six rookies including first year Lizanne Passaro.
“I know the team was a lot smaller last year,” Passaro said, “so the team grew a huge amount. Mount St. Mary’s has never had 43 people on the swim team ever, between the two teams.”
As a rookie, the transition to collegiate swimming hasn’t been easy for Passaro, but she is getting used to the schedule and looking forward to getting into rhythm. “When I first came, it took a week for everyone to learn my name.” In addition to Yost, Passaro said that the two new coaches, Kiet Luong and Marissa Frollo, are helpful to her.
What did not change much from last year was the schedule. With the new team still developing, a similar schedule would make it easier to track progress. One meet Yost is looking forward to is the Franklin and Marshall Invitational beginning on Nov. 19. But Yost stressed that every meet is important right from the get-go this October.
“The thing that held us back the most last year,” Yost said, “wasn’t our ability to compete with the teams we swam against, it was having enough depth to compete top to bottom.”
With a strong group of incoming first year students, both teams are looking to stay strong this season. The first meet is fast approaching with the Mountaineers set to take on the Virginia Military Institute on Oct. 7. Their second meet is with Monmouth University on Oct. 13.