Kayla Barrett

Keene State swimming and diving opens the 2022-23 season later this month on Oct. 29, looking to replicate the success they had in 2021-22. That success culminated in a Little East Conference (LEC) championship on the women’s side and a runner-up finish in the conference on the men’s side, only falling short of Bridgewater State.

Head Coach Chris Woolridge said he is confident in his team’s ability to repeat as LEC champions on the women’s team and also claim the conference title on the men’s side. While the Owls have a young team and graduated many seniors this past spring, he said he believes in his juniors and seniors to lead the team.

“This is a pretty young team, but our experienced swimmers do a great job instilling a good team culture as well as helping the younger members of the team stay in the right headspace mentally and physically as the season goes on,” Woolridge said.

He predicts challenges once again that the team will have to overcome to reach their championship goal, as he said that Bridgewater State and Eastern Connecticut State will be especially tough in men’s swimming. On the women’s side, he said he expects challenges from the University of New England and Western New England in particular.

Within the team itself, the Owls are led by junior men’s captain Ben Stafford and senior women’s captain Jaelin Jang. Stafford acknowledged the loss of many graduating seniors from last season, but remains confident in the men’s team’s ability to win the conference this year.

“We have high hopes for this season, and based off of our first LEC championship appearance, we had a lot to learn,” Stafford said. “That was a good experience for us, we did our best and we had very good performances in that meet and as well throughout the season. Knowing what to expect this year, we can definitely accomplish achieving a victory in the LEC championship.”

Jang said she was also confident in the team’s ability to repeat this season as LEC champions. “I think what it takes is the training inside the pool and definitely listening to our coaches,” Jang said. “I think if we all work together and keep training like we have been, we could have a good chance at it.”

Keene State’s swimming and diving season opens in two weeks inside Spaulding Gymnasium as they will take on St. Michael’s College on their quest for the LEC title once again.


Ryan Goodwin can be reached at

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