WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Gallaudet University women’s swimming team enters the 2011-12 season as defending North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) champions and the Bison will look to continue their winning ways while also replacing some key losses. GU graduated seven swimmers from last year’s championship team and will need the returning veterans and new swimmers to step-up to fill the void.
Junior Tong Song (Beijing, China), sophomore Valerie Farr (Fremont, Calif.) and sophomore captain Alyssa Gleason (Springfield, Va.) hope to champion the winning culture that has been on display by recent Gallaudet women’s swim teams. A number of fresh faces will also appear this season and are set to contribute in the pool. With new leadership this season, along with the new faces, the Gallaudet women’s swimming team is prepared to make another run at a second NEAC conference title this year.
Song and Farr are in for big seasons as they finished first and second at last year’s championship in the 200 meter breaststroke. One of two seniors on the team Jennifer Hagerty (West Chester, Pa.) will take to the water to improve her time in the 1,650 meter freestyle, an event she competed in at least year’s championship meet. With positions to be filled from last year’s team one might see the breakout of a first-year swimmer this season as Gallaudet has 15 new swimmers. With the help of the Gallaudet diving team, coached by Jeff Stabile, the women’s swimming team will have a promising outlook this season.
With such a young team, head coach Bill Snape has a positive outlook on the season.
“It’s really about the joy of self improvement,” said Snape, now in his eighth season at the helm. “Teaching these swimmers the joy of swimming and the feel of the water can be very exciting.”
As the season progresses the women’s team will take shape but where they end up depends on how they develop says Snape.
“How this team improves over the course of the season will define how we do at the NEAC championships,” said Snape.
This year the women’s swimming team looks to build upon last season’s success with another strong showing as the season begins October 22 at Frostburg State University. This double dual meet pits the Bison against Frostburg as well as Davis and Elkins College. Competition the following weekend will take place at Hollins University, where the Bison face Hollins and Greensboro College. The first of three single home meets for the Bison this season takes place November 12 against SUNY Cobleskill in a NEAC meet. Goucher College hosts a double dual meet November 19 where the Bison will also face Arcadia College. The second home meet is a single day conference meet versus Wells College on December 3. A double dual meet at York (Pa.) College, features the Bison against the host Spartans and Penn St.-Altoona on December 9 to close out the semester. After an extended holiday break, the Bison have their final home meet of the season against Hood College on January 21. The two final regular-season meets take place at Notre Dame (Md.) College and College of St. Elizabeth on January 25 and February 4, respectively. The Bison will aim for another successful performance in the NEAC championships in Cazenovia, N.Y., during the February 17-19 weekend.