It seems like it was just last week that the students at Rowan University were moving into their dorms and apartments. In the blink of an eye, October is almost over.
For one group of students, that’s not a bad thing. It just means that it is time for them to get in the pool and go to work.
The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams began their seasons on Oct. 22, a home meet against the University of Bridgeport. At the end of the meets, the men’s team came away victorious with a 146-112 mark. On the flip side, the women’s team dropped to 0-1, losing to the Purple Knights, 138-122.
Third-year head coach Brad Bowser was pleased with the effort from both teams, despite the mixed results.
“The guys stepped up, being as tired as they are. Some of our top guys swam faster than I was expecting. Overall they performed outstanding,” Bowser said. “The girls, we’re carrying 14 freshmen. Even though we lost I saw a lot of improvement over last year.”
One of those “top guys” that Bowser spoke of is senior captain Jesse Novak, who over the summer competed in the U.S. Olympic Swim Team Trials.
During the meet against Bridgeport, Novak took first in the 50 and 100 freestyles with respective times of 20.41 and 46.13.
“We’ve sort of used him as a catalyst to help grow this team and transition this team into being a national contender,” Bowser said.
Bowser also said that freshman Matt Grubb impressed him with his second place 100 breaststroke time (59.39), and should be a swimmer to watch throughout year.
If Novak is the face of the men’s team, then it would appear that sophomore Miranda Coughlan would be that of the women’s.
Coughlan was named New Jersey Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year at the end of last season. She also earned All-Conference first team honors in the 200 freestyle, was a member of the All-Conference second team in the 50 and 100 free and a member of the All-Conference second team 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.
“Winning Rookie of the Year for the NJAC, it gives confidence to the girls that they can do better and be the best team in the NJAC,” Bowser said. “Having [Coughlan and Novak] together, just the leaders that they are in the pool, it’s something everybody feeds off of.”
Besides Coughlan, Bowser brought up Alex Bambrick, Bianca Karpinski, Bailey Howarth and Emily LaBenski as newcomers that could make a difference this year and for years to come. Bowser believes that they could help turn the Profs into a top-10 team.
Ultimately, the team wants to be a contender. However, they will have to prove that they can get by top opponents to do so. In the NJAC, that means going up against The College of New Jersey.
Bowser said that the dual meets against TCNJ will likely decide who wins the NJAC.
If they can get past the Lions on Jan. 21, then the focus will shift to getting a large group of swimmers qualified to attend the NCAA’s.
“Conference meets are always good, but I’d say our biggest thing is NCAA’s. And having the team go, having a big team go,” Bowser said. “I know the guys have aspirations of getting 10 to 12 guys there and the girls want to get relay there.”
The Profs followed up their first week with a meet against Stevens Institute of Technology on Oct. 29.
The results were similar to the first meet of the year, with the men winning 140-122, and the women’s team losing 155-107.
The next time the Profs get into the pool, they will be going against William Paterson on Nov. 11.