With the New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association (NEISDA) Championships, the regional championships for swimming, quickly approaching, most swimmers are resting up to be at full strength.
KSC Swimming and Diving has placed second at the NEISDA championships the past two years. Before that, Coach Fabian led the Owls to three straight first place victories at the New England meet.
Last season, Jack Fabian brought a handful of swimmers to Nationals. Drew Ledwith, Austin Harris, James Black, Jared Hyde and Jillian Whitaker joined Coach Fabian at the national meet. Ledwith and Whitaker both competed individually, while Harris, Hyde and Black joined Ledwith in the pool for the team relays.
Head Coach of Swimming and Diving at KSC Jack Fabian said he hopes the rest will translate to some fast times and maybe even some personal records.
“Hopefully the resting helps them to make a super-compensation, they just kind of go faster than they have all season, that’s the goal,” Fabian said.
Fabian said that along with resting, he tries to eliminate outside stress from his swimmers lives, though it’s not always easy.
“We really try to get them to simplify their lives. We try to get them to not do internet or email or anything after like 8 [p.m.], and shut off their phones, and just try to eliminate a lot of stress out of their lives. Some of the kids can do it, some of the kids can’t. Usually the kids that can do that perform better,” Fabian said.
Fabian said that while there are a couple swimmers in good position to make Nationals, the team still needs to put out a good performance at the conference championships for most of those swimmers to get there.
There’s a six-week layoff between conference championships and Nationals, a layoff that allows for an increase in practice intensity, junior Drew Ledwith said.
“We’re almost doing a whole other training cycle, like a six-week training cycle. So I’ll do a couple weeks of distance real hard, then I’ll transfer into a speed week then taper the last two weeks and really rest for it,” Ledwith explained.
Freshman Cole Hogg said he’s close to qualifying for Nationals and is excited to see how Fabian prepares the team for the big event. “I don’t know how exactly [Fabian] does it but I am excited to see,” Hogg said.
Ledwith is the only member of either team who has already qualified for Nationals, causing him to take a different training approach towards NEISDA. While most swimmers are getting some mornings off, Ledwith is still showing up at the pool every morning putting in hard work, Fabian said.
“Everybody had the morning off; [Ledwith] was in at 5 a.m. and went 9,000 yards before class. He did it in a short amount of time; we worked pretty hard this morning. He’ll come in this afternoon and do another 9,000. So he’s putting in a lot of work still, as the other kids are just sort of resting,” Fabian said.
Ledwith said he’s using the conference championships to see where he is physically and to improve on his times from December.
Fabian said Ledwith sets a great example for other swimmers on the team.
“He walks in every day and they see what somebody who places second or maybe might win his event at nationals does on a daily basis. So he’s a huge role model for everybody, I would say,” Fabian said.
While Ledwith is the only one who’s qualified thus far, Fabian said others are expected to qualify at the NEISDA Championships.
Although some younger athletes might qualify for the National meet in March, Fabian said freshmen have a tendency to be in over their heads at Nationals.
“They think they’re really a big deal, and they get to the meet and they realize they have a lot of work to do because there’s a lot of good swimmers at that meet,” Fabian said.
On the other hand, Fabian said he doesn’t expect that sort of thing with Hogg, who has experience at some pretty big events.
Fabian went on, “[Hogg] has a little bit more experience… [Hogg’s} also been to some higher level meets so he’s used to going and getting his ass kicked a little bit in a big meet format, and probably not as intimidated as some of the freshmen who were high school only swimmers.”
Fabian said he also has high expectations for the women’s team this year, and that team chemistry is a lot better than years past. Fabian says Stephanie Murray, captain of the women’s team, has done a great job this season dealing with her teammates. “There can be a lot of drama on the women’s team and she has kept that to a minimum,” Fabian said.
Murray, who was hesitant to talk about teams of years past, said this team’s success can be attributed to swimmers who view swimming as a priority.
“I feel like in the past drama has been created because some people have different work ethics than others, and some people look to swimming as more of an important part of their life than others. But I feel like this year especially, everybody is really into swimming and everybody has a great work ethic,” Murray said.
Though Murray doesn’t expect to qualify for Nationals herself, she said she will still try to support her team as best she can.
“Before our meets we give each other sister gifts; we have sisters on the team and we swap presents and write notes for each other, and we’ll have spaghetti suppers, so probably do something along those lines to send them off with, but I think just showing up at the pool when they’re training even if I’m not,” Murray said.
Sophomore Diana Pimer said she expects big things out of the women’s team at the NEISDA championships. She added that the team’s chemistry is encouraging.
With one last chance to qualify, all swimmers will be looking to put their best foot forward. And by this time next week, the picture for Nationals will be painted. The NEISDA meet will start on Feb. 8 at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center in White River Junction, Vt.
Stephen Trinkwald can be contacted at