By Theresa Morrissey, Staff Writer
The Northeast Conference will be delaying the 2021 NEC Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships to April 7-10. The Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships will take place near campus at the Nassau County Aquatic Center in East Meadow, NY.
The NEC Council of Presidents made this change to give “the NEC a better opportunity to successfully conduct the championship and provide a better seasonal and championship experience for swimming and diving student-athletes.”
The coach of both the Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving teams, Matthew Donovan, supports the delay. “I think this is a tremendous decision on the part of the NEC. This gives all of our swimmers the best opportunity to have as close to a full season as possible, and in a safe environment,” Donavan said.
Women’s Swimming & Diving Senior Amanda Peron also supports the change. “Not only is this decision immensely safer for the athletes, coaches, officials and their families, but it also gives athletes more time to prepare coming off of the prolonged hiatus many of us have taken,” she said.
Women’s Swimming & Diving Junior Jackie Grabowski says that the new date adds motivation. “It was hard to stay motivated without knowing whether we will have a championship meet this season or not. The announcement of our championship for April changed my mindset positively,” she said. “It is much easier to stay motivated for practices and give 100% every day if you know there will be a chance to race again soon.”
Grabowski is also pleased with the extra time she has to prepare. “Moreover, since we have been training less than usual, the delayed championship gives us some more time to train hard and work on our skills in the pool,” Grabowski said.
Men’s Swimming & Diving is in its inaugural year. However, athletes still support the move. Sophomore Porter Levasseur is ready to compete when the season starts. “It’s exciting to hear that we have a date set for the conference, especially after all the unknowns we’ve dealt with over the last year,” he said. “We finally have something set in stone to look forward to.”
While the 2020-2021 athletic season has been more hectic than past years, the enthusiasm for the Swimming & Diving championships remains.
“We want to improve in the water each day. It’s about showing up every single day and putting in the work that is necessary to be successful in big meet settings,” Coach Donovan said. “Swimming is a very competitive sport in the NEC. IF we stay focused on our daily goals, I am confident that we will be successful in April.”
Peron hopes to have the opportunity to build on past success and reach her goals during the 2021 conference championship. “Last season’s conference meet was practically a dream come true for me, but there is always more swimming to be done and more time to drop. For this coming championship, I hope to earn a spot on the top of the podium for all my races, go some more personal bests, and achieve some NCAA ‘B’ cut times. We’ve come a long way as a team, and I’m extremely proud of our progress.”
Similarly, Men’s Swimming & Diving athletes look forward to the opportunity to prove themselves as a team in their inaugural year. “We hope to show that we are a force to be reckoned with,” Levasseur said. “Just because we are a first-year team doesn’t mean we aren’t coming in trying to win.”