Guest contributor, Lucas Biggerstaff
Both the women’s and men’s Emory & Henry swim teams opened up their seasons with aggressive wins against Ferrum at home on Saturday, Jan. 23. The men’s teams had a victory of 104-7; the women’s team won 109-67.
Contributing to the men’s win was junior Braxton Justice, who accounted for three individual event wins of the day in the 800 and 500 meter freestyle, along with the 100 meter breaststroke.
Junior Blake Madaris also contributed three individual event wins in the 200 meter individual medley, 100 meter backstroke, and 400 meter freestyle. He was named the ODAC men’s swimmer of the week, with his assistance of helping the men win all eleven of their events.
On the women’s team, junior Cat Sweigart took victories in the 100 meter backstroke, the 200 meter freestyle, 200 meter individual medley, and 100 meter freestyle. Her victories named her the ODAC women’s swimmer of the week.
Freshman Emy Youmans, in her first collegiate meet, secured victories in the 200 meter medley, 200 meter freestyle, and 100 meter butterfly. The women were able to top Ferrum in nine out of eleven events.
Both teams faced a longer offseason due to Covid-19.
Justice took note of the late start; “it was unusual because we usually start training in October but because of Covid, we started training in January.” The late start came with some challenges that Justice reviewed; “obviously the lack of time in the water has resulted in slower times but everyone is on the same playing field when it comes to training time.”
Head Coach Cody Skinner stated that “due to lack of time in the pool and weight room, I knew our swimmers were going to be a little sluggish but I was very pleased at the way our team performed this weekend.” Skinner reflected on the hard year, “It has been an awakening and made me more patient as a coach. Some kids have opted out simply to keep their families safe and I respect that and have learned to be patient with my athletes.”
Both E&H men’s and women’s swimming teams compete next on Feb. 5, at home, against King University.