Women’s Swimming Kicks Off New Era at Southern Connecticut Friday

Photo Credits: John Steady
Photo Credits: John Steady

Women's Swimming Kicks Off New Era at Southern Connecticut Friday

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Heralding in a new era for the Merrimack College Athletic Department as the newest program on campus, the Merrimack College women's swimming team begins its first year as a varsity program on Friday afternoon when it takes on Southern Connecticut State and the College of Saint Rose in a tri-meet hosted by SCSU in New Haven, Conn.

The Basics
Friday, Oct. 24, 2013 | 4 p.m.
Merrimack vs. Southern Connecticut State vs. Saint Rose
Hutchinson Natatorium | New Haven, Conn.

Women's Swimming Joins The Fold
Announced during the 2011-12 academic year, the women's swimming team brings the total number of varsity sports on campus to 23, with women's ice hockey also in the wings as the Department's 24th sport, which will launch in either 2014-15 or 2015-16.

The Warriors will swim in five events this fall and winter and will face plenty of top competition at both the Division I and Division II levels during their inaugural season.

After Friday's meet, Merrimcak will face DI Central Connecticut State and the University of Vermont on Nov. 16 in New Britain, Conn., before partaking in the Pace Invitational in early December. Merrimack returns to Southern Connecticut for another tri-meet against the Owls and fellow NE-10 competitor Le Moyne in January before rounding out the year at the NE-10 Championships from Feb. 6-9, 2014.

Head Coach Michael Spring
Named the program's first-ever head coach back in November of 2011, Michael Spring will have the chance to oversee the Warriors in a varsity competition for the first time nearly two years after his hire when Merrimack takes to the pool tomorrow.

Spring, who boasts 36 years of education, training, coaching and swimming experience, has led swimmers to 10 Junior National records, coached 24 National Qualifiers and eight Olympic Trial Qualifiers at Crimson Aquatics. Spring also served as an assistant swimming coach at Harvard University for four years.

Prior to Merrimack and Harvard, Spring was a four-year assistant coach at the State University at Buffalo and was on staff when the University upgraded its athletics program from Division II to Division I.

Meet The Warriors

Taking to the water this weekend for Merrimack will be the following competitors:

  • Jennifer Belanger | Freshman | South Windsor, Conn.
  • Erin Lydon | Sophomore | Mid-Distance Free/Butterfly | Waltham, Mass. | Criminology
  • Kathryn O'Connor | Freshman | 50/100 Free | Quincy, Mass. | Athletic Training

Competing as individuals on the men's side will be:

The Owls:

  • Have taken to the water twice this season, competing in the Sonny Werblin Invitational hosted by Rutgers University, facing the host Scarlet Knights and fellow Division I foes Central Connecticut and St. Peter's
  • Anna Pleban boasted two top-five finishes at Rutgers
  • Also competed in a tri-meet against West Chester and Shippensburg, placing third
  • Pleban also added another top-five finish, along with senior Hannah Olson during the two-day event

The Golden Knights:

  • Placed third as a team among qualifiers in their only event so far this season, the Hartwick Relays hosted by Hartwick
  • Freshmen Catherine Fournier, Olivia Reinhardt and Shannon Walsh placed third in the 3x100 breaststroke, helping the Golden Knights win the event


For continuing coverage of Merrimack College Athletics, visit MerrimackAthletics.com and follow the Warriors on Twitter and on Facebook.