Women’s swimming team readies itself for competition

by Emily Honeycutt – Staff Writer – ehoneycu@unca.edu

Women’s swimming rejoined the ranks of Bulldog athletics for the 2012-2013 season.

“I wish I could express in words the excitement I feel being able to be a part of this team,” senior Ferris Roberts said.

Roberts, who is also a captain of the women’s soccer team, said she has high hopes for the young swim team.

“This being our first year to compete in swim meets is a disadvantage in itself, but there is no doubt that coaches Elizabeth and Kirk will make sure we are ready and feel confident going in to the meets,” Roberts said.

Roberts, who is the only senior on the swim team, said one of her personal goals is to exemplify leadership qualities.

“Since we are a new team, it is important we build an exceptional foundation in and out of the pool,” Roberts said. “From this point on out, tradition will continue to develop year after year, but it would be awesome to have tradition this year that is continued in the future.”

Director of Athletics Janet Cone said the Athletics Association conducted research over the last few years to determine which sport to introduce or reintroduce to UNC Asheville.

“We looked at conference affiliation, and a lot of schools in our conference have added women’s swimming,” Cone said.

Cone said the academic profiles of swimmers were also part of the decision to reintroduce a women’s swimming team.

“Swimmers had high academic profiles, and we’re looking for student athletes,” Cone said. “We want to recruit swimmers who will be students first.”

Head Coach Elizabeth Lykins said she anticipates more interest in the team in seasons to come.

“Our team is smaller than most, but we expect the team to be bigger in the future,” Lykins said. “We had less interest than hoped at the try-outs.”

Lykins said she appreciates the commitment of the upperclassmen who joined the team.

“We have three juniors and one senior,” Lykins said. “These girls haven’t swam competitively in a few years, and it takes dedication to get back to that level.”

Roberts said she is grateful for the chance to be swimming on a team again.

“Not only did the swim team give me the opportunity to swim again, but it gave me another team to be part of at UNCA,” Roberts said. “It has been several years since I have seriously swam, and I am going to have to be extremely patient, but I look forward to seeing the progress I make from day one to my last meet.”

Lykins said the team is the strongest in individual medley and they are well represented in the breast stroke.

“On Sept. 22 we have an exhibition,” Lykins said. “There is no score, but it gives us a chance to run through everything.”

Lykins said she wants the swimmers to be recognized by the UNCA community for their hard work.

“On Nov. 3 we have a home meet against Campbell, a conference rival, and we want to pack the house.”

Cone said the Athletics Association plans to raise interest in women’s swimming.

“We will do exactly what we do for all our other teams,” Cone said. “We’ll have schedule cards and posters for home games like we do for soccer and basketball.”

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