Eastern swim teams to open at Valparaiso

Adam Shay, Swimming Reporter

The Eastern men’s and women’s swim teams begin the season as the Panthers travel to Valparaiso this Saturday.

Despite having losing records last season, both teams are ready to begin their season and to make improvements. For the men’s team, they are looking to improve from their 2-6 record and so far this offseason, the men’s team has a different outlook compared to previous years. 

“Returning members worked hard over summer to come in ready for this season, more so than any other year I’ve been here,” junior Nick Harkins said.  “With the work we have put in the first two months, we’ll be ready to do well this season.”

Last year at the Summit League Championship, Harkins finished eighth overall and with a time of 52.97 in the 100-yard individual medley, breakingthe school record.

The men’s team only lost two seniors from last year.  This year, the men’s team has six seniors and has also brought in six freshmen.  The incoming freshmen that coach Jacqueline Michalski brought in have impressed Harkins so far.

“Jacqueline brought in an incredible freshman class that’ll add both speed and depth to the team,” Harkins said. 

Individually, Harkins has set the bar high for this upcoming season.  Harkins said his goal for the season is to not only match his success from last year, but to improve and help the team score as many points as he can.

As for the women’s swim team, their team also has high expectations going into this weekend’s meet.  The team’s high expectations come from their training ethic over the past couple weeks.

“I expect our team as a whole to do really well,” junior Lauren Oostman said.” We’ve had some hard training the last couple weeks, so I think this will be a very good meet for us.”

Oostman also had a successful previous year as she moved into the record books in three categories.  She is now second in Eastern history with a 1:01.55 in the 100- IM, third in the 100-Back with a 57.32, and with a 2:10.38 in the 200-IM, she is now fifth all-time.

In order for Oostman to match her success, her training has been going on much longer than the beginning of school. Going into Saturday, she has a different mentality compared to years prior.

“I trained a lot more this past summer than I did last year, so I already feel better in the pool this year,” Oostman said. “I’m planning on working harder in an out of the pool and hopefully it will show in my times.”

The Panthers are going into Saturday with not only a positive attitude to win the meet, but to win a lot of meets this season.

“As a team, we’re expecting to go in and win this meet, and hopefully a lot of meets this season,” Harkins said.

The Panthers’ meet begins at 1 p.m. in Valparaiso. Eastern is home next week against Lewis at the Padovan Pool.

That will be the start of a a three-meet home stretch for the Panthers.

Eastern’s biggest meet of the season, House of Champions, is Nov.17-18.

Eastern will have close to three weeks off following its final home meet before the House of Champions.

Adam Shay can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]