ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – The St. Bonaventure University women's swimming and diving team is set to compete in the Atlantic 10 Swimming and Diving Championships at Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio Wednesday, Feb. 15 through Saturday, Feb. 19.
First-year head coach Brian Thomas believes his squad is in a solid position to perform well at the championships.
"After swimming extremely well at Akron (in December) and then having a successful training trip in Florida followed by a couple more wins, we're definitely building the right way," Thomas said. "You want to be swimming your best right now, and we're in good shape to do that."
An overall culture change in Thomas' first year at the helm has resulted in added confidence among the team, which has the Bonnies feeling like they are ready and able to improve upon the 10th-place finish at the 2016 conference championships.
"We are much more confident this year," junior Maria Rocchi said. "Brian has reminded us all year that we can come together and perform as a team, and we've come to realize that throughout the year, so that's really helped boost our confidence."
Thomas' training approach has also added to the Bonnies' high morale.
"Our training has been much better this year than in the past," said sophomore Alyssa Levac, who owns the school record in the 200-breaststroke she set at Akron this year at 2:17.06. "It's been a quality over quality approach. Since our practices are better, we've been performing better. As a result, everyone is far more confident this year than last year."
In addition to her record-breaking time in the 200-breaststroke, Levac also holds the top Bona times in the 100-breast and 200-butterfly this season.
"To watch the progress they've made has been really rewarding," Thomas said. "You want to hammer the details every day and be excellent at each detail, hoping that turns into something special. To watch the progress this group has made has been really rewarding."
Junior Devon McFadden has consistently been the Bonnies' leading scorer at meets. She holds the top Bona times in four events: the 100 and 200-backstroke, and the 200 and 400-IM.
Sophomore Samantha Kuchinski has shined in sprint events, leading the Bonnies in both the 50 and 100-free.
As a whole, the team is simply ready to get in the pool and compete.
"We're all very excited," said junior Michaela Ryan, who holds the team's top times in the 1,000-freestyle and will swim the 1,650-free at the championships. "We're all ready to show the conference what we can do. This year, more than ever, we've shown ourselves what we are capable of. We're ready to go."
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