Both NSU’s men’s and women’s swim teams took home the conference titles at the 2017 Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Men’s and Women’s Swim Championships, which took place Feb. 16-19 in Orlando, Florida.
According to NSU’s athletics website, this victory makes NSU the only school in the SSC to have won the men’s and the women’s conference titles twice, once in 2017 and once in 2012. Swimmers Courtney DeVeny and Franco Lupoli were also named SSC Female and Male Swimmer of the Meet, respectively. Both NSU teams have now won three conference titles each.
Courtney DeVeny, junior business major and winner of the 2017 SSC Female Swimmer of the Meet award, competed in the 200-meter individual medley, 400-meter individual medley, 200-meter butterfly and 200-meter backstroke. She placed first in all four events. DeVeny said that the women’s team thought they had a really good chance of winning going into the meet.
“Anything can happen, so you have to be prepared for anything,” she said. “But, just from what the results showed, we were ready and prepared.”
Marco Adalbe, swimmer and senior biology major, said that the men’s team did better than he expected.
“I was impressed by everyone’s results,” he said. “I did better than I thought I was going to do, and people were able to step it up and surprise.”
At the SSC championships, NSU’s women’s team competed against teams from Tampa, Florida Southern, Saint Leo, Lynn, Florida Tech and Rollins. The men’s team competed against teams from Tampa, Florida Southern, Saint Leo, Florida Tech and Rollins.
Emma Wahlstrom, swimmer and senior business administration major, broke a longstanding SSC record in the 100-meter backstroke.
“I didn’t know I [broke the record] until my coach told me after,” she said. “It felt really good, and that’s not my main event either, so it felt really good.”
Wahlstrom said she thought going into the meet that both the men’s and women’s teams would win.
“We all came in with a very good attitude, and we were all very excited because we knew that both women and men had a good chance to win this year,” she said. “We all knew that we could swim really fast.”
Franco Lupoli, junior biology major and winner of the 2017 SSC Male Swimmer of the Meet award, competed with NSU at the SSC championships for the first time this year. He said that the most challenging thing about the meet was the fact that team members were swimming three or four individual races, in addition to relays.
Lupoli said the moment that stood out to him most from the competition was when the team won.
“We all jumped together to celebrate…both men and women,” he said. “That was the most exciting part of the whole meet, obviously.”
DeVeny said that she attributes part of the team’s success to the new coaching staff.
“I think that really helped us a lot,” she said. “It was much more of a positive atmosphere this year, and I think that the team came together better as a whole than what it has in the past. So I think that made a difference.”
According to Marco Adalbe, senior biology major, the previous head coach had a different mentality and different philosophy regarding swimming, training and competing, than current head coach Ben Hewitt.
“It obviously has worked,” he said. “It’s helped us step it up and win the conference meet.”
Adalbe set meet records in the 400-meter individual medley, the 200- and 400-meter medley relay and the 800-meter freestyle relay. This is his fourth year competing at the SSC conference. He said for him, this year’s conference was the most exciting one he’s attended and that the swimmers and their families were more involved in the events than in previous years.
“We really supported each other… The energy in our team was always very high, and we were always smiling,” Adalbe said. “Just that feeling of excitement was there, and you could hear the parents cheering for us. They were the loudest parents, obviously.”
The eight male swimmers and nine female swimmers from NSU who qualified for the NCAA Division II national championship on March 8-11 in Birmingham, Alabama are currently training.
Wahlstrom, who qualified for the national championship, said she feels good about the upcoming competition.
“I just hope we swim really fast,” she said.
Lupoli is also training for nationals.
“While we’re definitely happy with our performance, we’re not satisfied,” he said. “We’re hungry for more.
For the full results from the SSC conference, visit goo.gl/Z0Vsl8.