Swim season begins Friday

Sean Hastings, Staff Reporter

The Eastern men’s and women’s swim teams will begin their seasons with a meet against IUPUI at 5 p.m. Friday in Indianapolis, Ind.

Eastern coach Jacqueline Michalski is in her first year leading both squads after taking over for Elliott McGill.

Michalski is in her first head-coaching job at Eastern, but this is not her first coaching experience.

She coached at St. Francis University, while she was getting her Masters there. She also coached club and “learn to swim programs” when she was younger.

Michalski has the Panthers practice twice a day Monday through Friday for two hours in each practice.

“Practices have been rough in terms of that we have put a lot of yards on them, really trying to get them in shape and ready for the season,” Michalski said.

Michalski said she loves how both teams have come together and have become a family.

Both the women’s and men’s teams have many freshmen on the roster.

On the women’s side, some of them being Renae Johnson, who competes in the backstroke and the butterfly. There are also Amy Smith who competes in freestyle and backstroke, and Melissa Hepler who competes in freestyle and individual medley.

Michalski said that all three have come and brought a new element to the team and the same with the other freshmen on the roster.

On the men’s side, nine out of the 20 swimmers on the roster are freshmen. A couple of the freshmen are, Mitch Carzoli who competes in the freestyle and Steve Fishman who also competes in the freestyle, backstroke and individual medley.

“You can’t really tell who’s a freshman and who’s not because they have integrated so well with the entire team,” Michalski said.

Both teams have been pushing each other during the fall in preparation for the start of the season.

Both teams also have many returning swimmers.

On the women’s side, they have returning swimmers in seniors Katie Vanhootegem and Nikki Peck, both of which have been swimming since their freshmen years as true freshmen.

The men’s side does not have a returning senior on the roster, but they do have four juniors on the team this year. One of them being Jake Roberts, who competes in the freestyle event.

Michalski said she is confident that both teams are 100 percent ready for the season to start.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]