Women’s swim team defeats Radford four swimmers short

UNC Asheville’s women’s swim team defeated Radford 135 to 125 at their first home meet of the season.

In preparation for their meet against Radford the team got ready by racing and swimming hard and by hitting the weight room. With only 10 swimmers this meet, due to injuries, the team had to be very cautious and strategic about where they placed each swimmer.

“We wanted to make sure we had somebody in every event who we thought could win the event, and we won 11 out of 14 events, so I guess that we did that pretty well,” said Elizabeth Lykins head coach of the women’s swim team.

“I know it’s a common coach thing to say that everyone on the team contributed, but literally everyone on our team scored points. Of the 10 swimmers you get one point for fifth place and you get two points for fourth place, we got 16 points from either fourth or fifth place, and that being said we only won the meet by 10 points. So everyone contributed,” said Lykins.

Some of the strongest swimmers this meet were sophomores Galen Broido and Alessandra Troncoso, as well as junior Alice Emm, according to Lykins.

“Galen Broido won three individual events, the 1,000 free, the 500 yard free and the 400 yard individual medley. Alessandra Troncoso won the 100 breast, the 200 breast. Alice Emm has some struggles that she’s working through, but she did a great job and she came in just when we needed her. She won the 50 free, she swam the 100 fly, and she was on both relays. So I would say those three might have been our biggest standouts,” Lykins said.

At the second break of the meet, UNCA was on top at 113-111, with only the 400 individual medley and 200 free relay left. Broido successfully completed the 400 individual medley in first place at 4:40:92, gaining the Bulldogs nine points. And with a time of 1:41:10, Bulldogs Ashley Ireland, Alice Emm, Kristen Lawson and Reid Jackso earned 11 points in the 200 free relay.

After their victory against Radford, UNCA is now 3-3 in meets this season.

“This meet was huge for us. Last year we beat Radford at conference champs, but to beat them at a dual meet was such a great feeling. Although I am not able to swim because of an injury I still enjoy being a part of one of the best families on campus,” said Hallie Gillespie, a junior at UNCA.

Gillespie, a Raleigh native, joined the team last year and made the CCSA All-Academic team last spring. She is now recovering from an injury.

“Watching the team race on Friday was one of the highlights of my swimming career. I’m so proud of my team, especially the freshmen who have been such troopers. People don’t quite understand the amount of time and effort swimmers put in, they work out two or three times a day, including Saturday mornings and weekend meets. Swimming is not a just a sport, but a lifestyle,” Gillespie said.

UNCA added swimming on campus just a year ago and the team started having their first team practices last August.

“We call ourselves one year young, because we are one year young and we are already doing great things. We have won a couple of dual meetings and winning against Radford was a big milestone for us. With it being our first home meet of the season made it really important to us. We had a great crowd and I can’t thank the fans enough, the pool deck was surrounded by people and there was a really intimate feel,” Lykins said.

Last weekend was the team’s Think Pink weekend, where they collected money for breast cancer awareness. They sold ribbons, shirts and more and donated the money to Ladies Night Out, a local charity that helps women who can’t afford to get mammograms.

The meet was also dedicated to former UNCA swim coach Betsy Montgomery, who passed away last month in a car accident.

“Betsy was the first coach ever at UNC Asheville in the ‘70s and she was a huge instrumental part of bringing swimming into the Asheville area. It was four years, but she was a huge influence. We took a moment of silence to honor her for all the swimming influence she had in the entire community,” Lykins said.

The team’s next meet is Nov. 21 through Nov. 23, at Radford, competing in the Highlander Invitational. The next home meet will be Jan. 11at 10 a.m. against Georgia Southern.

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