Claire Murray | Asst. Photo Editor
Over the weekend, the Duquesne women’s swimming team ended their season in Geneva, Ohio with a fifth place team finish at the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship.
The Dukes gave an impressive performance at the four day meet, breaking eight school records, collecting several medals, dominating in the freestyle and scoring 128 more points than they did last year.
“This year we were so pumped and so ready for conference. I think past years we’ve kind of worried about it a little bit and gotten too anxious,” said senior Miriam McGeath.
Head coach David Sheets emphasized the contributions made by every member of the team.
“We had to go there and make sure it was a total team effort. Everybody that participated in that meet from our program stepped up and did what they needed to do to help us get the fifth place,” Sheets said.
Five individual swimmers broke school records in their respective events. These impressive performances included Morgan Fink in the 200-yard backstroke, Meghan Smith in the 200-yard IM, the 200-yard butterfly and the first leg of the 800-yard freestyle relay and Miriam McGeath in the 400-yard IM.
McGeath also broke the pool record and snagged a gold medal.
“It feels great to have accomplished that and to get a new school record, especially because it’s my last year. To go out on a note like that is fantastic,” McGeath said.
McGeath plans to continue her training in hopes of making the 2016 Olympic trials. She attributes her success at Duquesne to the dedication of Sheets.
In addition to the five individual records, three school relay records were also broken in the 800-yard freestyle, the 400-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Sophomore Samantha Ray competed in two of the relays, earning an impressive fifth place in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:50.80.
“Our 800 free relay and our 400 free relay both got third place, which was pretty cool because we haven’t scored that high in a while or got on the podium for relays in a while,” Ray said.
Similar to Sheets, Ray also praised her team for their notable performance at the conference meet.
“It was just awesome because we realized how much better we are and that we’re still getting better. So I just think it was pretty exciting that we came to A10s and did what we needed to do,” she said
Although this conference meet wraps up the Dukes’ season, Sheets and his team are always preparing for the future.
“It’s just about our program next year, moving forward…We want our program to continue to evolve and to do that, we have to work harder in the off season,” Sheets said.
Graduating seniors include Hannah Huber, McGeath and Smith.
“It’s definitely going to be hard to replace them because they’re awesome swimmers, but I think we have 7 freshmen coming in and they all do different things, so hopefully they’ll make a good impact on our team next year,” Ray said.
The Dukes will have two weeks to relax before they begin their off-season training. Sheets set high standards for his team after their performance at the A10 Championships.
“I couldn’t be happier for what they accomplished this year,” Sheets said. “When you have a meet like we did, it sets the bar higher. And that’s what you want to do. I know the women in our program are ready to step up.”