WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Gallaudet University women’s swimming team returns to the pool after a third-place finish in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) championship last season. The young team returns several swimmers from last year and hopes that with a year of experience under their belts, that they can improve on last year’s finish. Head coach Larry Curran, who took over for former coach Bill Snape earlier this year, says his team has a nice mix of returning swimmers and new swimmers.
“We’re excited about what our returning swimmers bring to the table. We’ve also got a couple newer swimmers who look like they’ll be able to contribute early on,” said Curran, who served as an assistant coach last season.
The Bison swimmers will be led by reigning NEAC Swimmer of the Year, sophomore Alexandra Polivanchuk (Orebro, Sweden). Her freshman season saw her set conference records in the 100 and 200-yard butterfly, and the 200 IM. She was also a member of the All-NEAC 800 freestyle relay team that placed third overall and included Brittany Turner (Palmdale, Calif.) who returns for her senior season. Sophomore Lauren Starkman (Denver, Colo.) earned all-conference second team honors last year for her performance in the diving championships.
Gallaudet returns six other swimmers from last year’s team in addition to the previous three named including senior Jennifer Hagerty (West Chester, Pa.), juniors Valerie Farr (Fremont, Calif.), Alyssa Gleason (Springfield, Va.), Emily Harrison (Brewster, Mass.), Lisa van der Mark (Mijnsheerenland, The Netherlands) and sophomore Carol Lynn (Gardner, Kan.). A handful of new swimmers to the program add much needed depth for the Bison but there always room to improve and add more interested swimmers.
Coach Curran’s open-door policy allows for anyone with an interest in swimming to join the team, but the key, he says, is making sure he finds swimmers with the right attitude.
“I want to coach swimmers who are willing to put in the work needed in order for them to be the best they can be,” said Curran.
The Bison open their title defense at home against Frostburg State University on Oct. 20. The team heads to Roanoke, Va., the following weekend for a double dual meet against Greensboro and Hollins during Gallaudet’s homecoming weekend. The Bison swimming team has the honor of recognizing two former Gallaudet swimming greats as Albert Walla ‘75 and Stephanie Danner ‘05 who will get inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday, Oct. 28.
On Nov. 17, the Bison travel to Towson, Md., for a double dual meet at Goucher College against the host Gophers and Arcadia. GU jumps into conference play on Dec. 1 when it travels to Cobleskill, N.Y., for a double dual meet against Wells and the host Fighting Tigers. The following week the Bison pay a visit to York, Pa., to face Penn St.-Altoona and York (Pa.) College on Dec. 7. The New Year finds Gallaudet hosting College of St. Elizabeth and Cazenovia College on Jan. 19 in a home conference double dual meet. The Bison wrap up their regular-season schedule at home vs. College of Notre Dame (Md.) on Jan. 23 before the NEAC championships begin on Feb. 15-17.
Gallaudet is two years removed from when it celebrated a NEAC championship in its first year in the conference. Last year showed the Bison are not too far off another championship performance. With another year of experience under their belts, a new coach and a mix of new swimmers Gallaudet should still be a threat in the NEAC.
2012-13 Gallaudet University Women's Swimming