WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Gallaudet University men’s swimming team had quite the debut in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) last season as the Bison won the conference title in their first season in the conference. The Bison will look to duplicate their success in the 2011-12 season as the defending champions. Winning back-to-back championships can be a difficult task but the swim team has high hopes as a number of key swimmers return from last year’s championship roster.
Senior Brian Bennett (Colorado Springs, Colo.), last year’s NEAC Swimmer of the Year, comes back after a standout performance last season and an appearance at the World Deaf Swim Championships. Team captains, senior James McGowan (Palm Coast, Fla.), sophomore DJ Everton-Lovell (Norfolk, Va.), and sophomore Richard Zabelski (Saginaw, Mich.) look to guide this team back to the finals. Gallaudet returns 11 swimmers to the team this year, five seniors, three juniors and three sophomores. The return of the veterans along with a number of new swimmers will provide the Bison with depth that helped secure the 2010-11 NEAC title.
Bennett, Everton-Lovell and McGowan are poised to have outstanding seasons as they attempt to go deep into the postseason. Bennett is aiming to go under 17 minutes in the mile while he and McGowan seek to go under 50 seconds in the 100 meter freestyle. Everton-Lovell will be chasing some of the backstroke team records as well. These three will attempt to reach the ECAC finals, which is a step after the NEAC, and have even set their sights on nationals as head coach Bill Snape explains; “making nationals is a goal but there are other intermediary goals that are very aggressive and very impressive in their own right.”
“It really is about your personal best. It’s all about improving yourself day-in, day-out,” said Snape.
During conference meets the NEAC offers diving, which will help the team gain valuable points during dual meets and their championship meet. The team is coached by swimming assistant coach Jeff Stabile who is “doing a great job building our team” according to Snape. The dive team is led by captain Kailob Miller (Ardmore, Okla.), who is also a valuable piece to the swim team.
Snape coached the USA swim teams at the World Deaf Swim Championships this past summer begins his eighth season as the head coach at Gallaudet.
“We can only control what we can do,” said Snape. “We all realize now that when we put our minds and bodies to something we can achieve anything.”
These factors are going to prove an important piece for the men’s swimming team this season.
“We have very high expectations for the men’s team this year,” said Snape.
This year the men’s swimming team looks to build upon last season’s success with another strong showing as the season begins October 22 at Frostburg State University. This double dual meet pits the Bison against Frostburg as well as Davis and Elkins College. Competition the following weekend will take place at Hollins University, where the Bison face Greensboro College. The first of three single home meets for the Bison this season takes place November 12 against SUNY Cobleskill in a NEAC meet. Goucher College hosts a double dual meet November 19 where the Bison will also face Arcadia College. The second home meet is a single day conference meet versus Wells College on December 3. A double dual meet at York (Pa.) College, features the Bison against the host Spartans and Penn St.-Altoona on December 9 to close out the semester. After an extended holiday break, the Bison have their final home meet of the season against Hood College on January 21. The Bison will aim for another successful performance in the NEAC championships in Cazenovia, N.Y., during the February 17-19 weekend.