NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – Niagara’s swimming and diving teams have experienced another season of mediocrity with the lone hope of salvaging the season at the MAAC Championships next month in Buffalo. After a season-opening wins for both teams against SUNY Fredonia, the seasons have been below average with the men (2-4 overall) and women (3-5 overall). Julia Casolo and Nick Rogers sat down and talked about moving forward this season.
James Burns: Despite losses for both men and women against St. Bonaventure on what has been a challenging season, where are the bright spots for these teams?
Julia Casolo: Our main focus all season is MAACs in February. However, dual meets are a great opportunity to work on the little parts of our races that we work to correct all season.
Nick Rogers: Yeah, the team this year has really come together nicely with a great freshman class. We can’t let a dual meet loss get us down because MAACs and our mid-season meet in Akron, Ohio is when it really matters.
JB: Julia, as a senior, what significance was there at (senior day against St. Bonaventure) to do well and bring together everything that’s happened in these four years.
JC: My main focus was to enjoy my last meet in that pool. I just tried to not put any pressure on myself to perform well and just focused on swimming my races and having fun with it.
JB: Nick, as a junior on the team, you’re beginning to reach the back half of your career. What was it like watching the seniors on the team have their senior day and seeing them perform well?
NR: I’m very happy that (the seniors) performed well and had fun. I have two main focuses going into my final semesters; first is to keep working hard every day and second, to be a leader on the team.
JB: Heading into MAACs, how confident are both of you in your teams to do well and compete for medals in certain events?
JC: This year definitely stands out to me in regards to how successful we will be at MAACs. Our freshman class has dominated so far and has added a lot of depth to our team. It’s important to remember how well we did last year at this meet as well as focus on what we can improve on in order to be even more successful.
NR: I’m very confident in the team’s ability to compete for medals in almost every event. In past years, we have had MAAC champions and plenty of top eight finishers who have demonstrated what it takes to be a medal contender.
JB: What types of events have both teams found the most success in?
JC: On the girls side, we have been most successful in the butterfly, freestyle & IM events. We look to be successful in those events again this year. However, I’m confident that this year will we have girls succeed in the breaststroke and backstroke events as well.
NR: (For the men’s team) At MAACs we always seen to have many people finish top eight in stroke events. Our freestyle is also strong. Sprinters have very good seating going into MAACs along with the distance swimmers.
JC: Another huge success for us has been in the relays. Last year our 200 freestyle relay team medaled for the first time in my college career. This year, our 400 medley relay, 400 freestyle relay, and 200 freestyle relay are all seeded first heading into the championship meet.
The Niagara swimming and diving team finishes their season at the ECC Burt Flickinger Athletic Center in Buffalo, Feb. 14-17 in the MAAC Championships.