Yeoswimmers Head to the NCAC Championships

Sloane Garelick

When former coach Mark Fino abruptly resigned last August, the swimming and diving team was thrust into a tough situation. Still, new head coach Andrew Brabson expected big things from his team this winter.

“I think they certainly exceeded my expectations. They were put in a difficult situation with their coach leaving in August, and it was definitely refreshing to see how well they came together during a difficult time,” Brabson said.

Despite the team’s accomplishments thus far, the season isn’t over just yet. On Feb. 12, the teams head to Denison University for four days of competitive swimming in this season’s North Coast Athletic Conference Championships.

The Yeowomen head into the NCAC championships undefeated and the Yeomen have a winning record of 5–2, including combined scoring meets.

With as many as 11 practices a week in addition to meets, it’s been an arduous journey to the Conference Championships.

“I’m immensely proud of everyone,” said first-year Nora Cooper. “Meets can be physically and mentally draining, and without everyone being so supportive of one another, I’m not sure whether our women’s team record would be what it is.”

There have been standout performances from both the Yeomen and Yeowomen, with sophomore Lauren Wong leading the pack after being named North Coast Athletic Conference swimmer of the week twice this season.

Nils Gudbranson, a first-year on the men’s swim team, expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performance this season. “Everyone on the team has really been swimming great this year. It seems like everyone has seen great improvements in their abilities,” he said.

The pinnacle moment for the team this season was the Fredonia State Blue Devil Invite. Although it was a competitive meet for the Yeomen and Yeowomen, the women finished first and the men fifth in the invitational.

“We measured up well against swimmers who were shaved, tapered and wearing tech suits,” said Cooper, “but it was really refreshing to have everyone in the pool come together to get hyped and finish the weekend swimming strong.”

The team is looking forward to the conference championships and hopes to finish the season strong. “I truly believe that everyone on our team will swim amazingly, given their performance throughout the entirety of the season,” said Cooper. “I am looking forward to watching all our hard work pay off.”

Brabson’s goals for the NCAC Championships are consistent with those of the swimmers. “Our goal going into this is to improve upon last year’s finishes. I think the women have a really good shot at being fourth and I think the men have a really good shot at being sixth. I’d definitely be happy with fourth and sixth.”

With such high goals, the Yeomen and Yeowomen will need to give a strong performance, which Brabson is confident will happen. “I think overall they’re looking really, really good in the water going into our conference meet. We’ll definitely be using the conference meet as a measuring stick as well,” he said.

Although this season is almost over, the team has big plans for future seasons.

“I really value the camaraderie, toughness and energy on our team, and hope that these traits can persist through future swim seasons,” said Cooper.

Brabson feels that the success from this season has created a basis for success for Oberlin swim teams in future seasons. “I think that we can build on the success from this year and really try to build a culture where we’re swimming year round and internalizing some of the training concepts that I’ve introduced this year,” he said.

The Yeomen and Yeowomen will look to make a big splash at the conference tournament, in the hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Division III championships.