This past weekend at Charles A. Cannon Pool, Davidson’s men’s and women’s swim teams swept the Georgetown Hoyas with scores of 171-127 and 166-132, respectively. The teams were led by Luke Burton ’16 and Elise Lankiewicz ’17, who both went undefeated on the day. Burton furthered his event win streak to six, capturing first place in both backstroke events and as a part of the 200 medley team. Lankiewicz was the first to the wall in the 200 free, 500 free, 1000 free, and 400 free relay, bringing her total event wins this year to seven. Emily Yang ’19 won her second event of the season, taking home the victory in the 200 butterfly and finishing second in the 100 IM.
Yang is just one of the numerous freshmen who have made serious contributions to the team this year. Against Georgetown, Ryan Knohl ’19 finished second in the 200 fly. At the Richmond Duals earlier this month, Maggie Farrell ’19 was part of the winning 400 medley relay team. And at the All-NC Invitational earlier this fall, Jake Perron ’19 was part of the successful 400 freestyle relay squad.
The freshmen on the team are able and expected to make an immediate impact. Although the strokes stay the same, the student-athletes have had to make significant adjustments to their everyday routines.
Knohl, an Evanston, Illinois native, notes that the biggest difference in practice from high school to college is “the specialization in the sense that we separate into groups, and you only train at what you’re good at. In high school, everybody does the same thing. If you’re the best in the pool, you do the same thing as everyone else, but maybe a little bit faster. In college you’re geared to do very specific things. All your training revolves around those events.”
On a Division 1 team, the environment is competitive. With such a hectic schedule, taking care of oneself is of the utmost importance.
“Balancing everything is difficult, from academics to an aggressive practice schedule to sleep,” said Knohl. “Throughout the season you are broken down repeatedly until you’re brought back up through rest. It really takes a toll on your body and your mind. You want to be focused on academics but you want to put everything you have into swimming, so you have to learn to manage your time.”
While the transition is difficult, it is eased by the camaraderie and friendship within the team. “The boys’ team does a really good job of incorporating the freshman guys into team tradition and atmosphere, [just like] the girls’ team. They really know how to bring people up into the program and let them know they’re welcome,” explained Knohl.
As for now, the year is still early and the team is constantly improving. Knohl remains optimistic about the way the season is heading. With well-established names like Burton and Lankiewicz leading the way, the freshmen know their job is to supplement that talent, helping contribute in whatever way they can.
The swimmers hit the pool once again this weekend, as the team takes on Old Dominion and Marshall at home. The action starts at 6 p.m. on Friday night, and resumes at 10 a.m. on Saturday.