Bearcat Swimmers See Success at Home: Men’s Team Wins Season Opener, Women’s Team Wins by 100

By Jacob Rzempoluch, Sports Editor

On Oct. 22, the Saint Vincent men’s and women’s swim teams faced Penn State-Altoona at the Frank and Elizabeth Resnik pool. The matchup served as the season opener for the men’s team and was the second contest for the women. Expectations were high, with several Bearcats already setting their eyes on a President’s Athletic Conference title. Sara Basala, senior biochemistry major and team captain, said, “Our goal is always to place as high as we can in the conference. Last year we were able to reach second in the PAC, but we are always striving for first.”

(@PAC_Athletics twitter) Coach Josh Gurekovich (right) has led the Bearcat swimming program since its genesis and has coached many successful athletes in his time at Saint Vincent.

Across teams, 23 of the 28 races were won by Bearcats. The men won the non-conference meet 150-108, with five swimmers winning individual events. Senior mechanical engineering major and captain Kris Smith won four different races, including a relay in the 200-yard medley with the freshman trio of Colin Spehar, Alex Leskovansky, and Jacob Dzurica. Dzurica won both the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke races in addition to the relay. Senior biology major Chris Bush won the 200-yard IM, 100-yard breaststroke, and 200-yard breaststroke.

The women’s team won in dominant fashion with a 179-77 final score. Basala won the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke races as well as swimming a leg of the victorious 200-yard medley relay. Early childhood education major Lauren Connors, accounting major Katie Kozy, and management major Erica Steele made up the rest of the senior-dominated relay; Steele also won the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle races and led off the first place 200-yard freestyle relay while Connors won the 200-yard backstroke and individual medley.

With a championship over three months away, it is important for the Bearcats to stay focused through the winter months. A winter break trip to Florida can provide both a break and an opportunity to change training.

“It's definitely hard training and taxing while we’re down there, but being able to be outside in the sun is really nice,” Coach Josh Gurekovich said.

He further elaborated on the way the team trains, explaining, “We believe speed builds speed, so we do a lot of racing in practice — against each other, against the clock — and we try to keep it a light and fun environment in general, so we try to have as much fun as we can while staring at a blue line all day.”

Basala agrees with this philosophy as a captain. “A big goal of ours is a positive attitude at practice and meets and good team chemistry… I like to think that we are the best cheering squad in the conference which really helps all our swimmers do well,” he said.

Both the men’s and women’s swim squads were excited to start the season with a win. While a long road remains until the PAC Championship, the Bearcats are working hard every single day to prepare.

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