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Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Strong finish is a start

From even before the first meet of the season, McDaniel's women's swimmers dedicated themselves to working hard and improving upon previous year's.

It took a while to see the results, but the Green Terror finished the season in historic fashion.

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McDaniel won its final three regular-season meets - with convincing victories over Elizabethtown, Bryn Mawr and Washington. It was the first time since the 2002-2003 season that the Green Terror had won three meets in a row.

Then, on Feb. 17, the Green Terror used that momentum to earn their best-ever performance in the Centennial Conference championships. The Terror finished sixth out of eight teams and had 380.5 points, the highest total a McDaniel team has scored at the conference meet.

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McDaniel got outstanding performances from Rachel Walega, Jessica Fry, and Kerrie Vanscoy at the Centennial meet.

Walega won her third career gold medal for the 100-meter breaststroke as well as joining Vanscoy, Brittney Lenz and Emma Duesterhaus on the 200 and 400 relay medley teams that earned silver medals and set new school records.

Fry also set three new personal career times.

All this after enduring a rough early part of the season that included only one win out of the first eight meets. But by season's end, it was a different Green Terror team.

Seniors Walega and Fry described the end to the season as "bittersweet."

They both had solid four-year careers during which they helped to bolster the swimming program and led the team the new accomplishments.

"It's [an] awesome [feeling]," Walega said of the team's late-season performanace, "but at the same time it's sad because I'll never be able to be a collegiate swimmer again. But I also feel like I'm leaving the team in good hands because I know they'll win even more next year. They know how to win."

Indeed. And sophomores Vanscoy and Duesterhaus have another two years to improve and build upon their already impressive skill sets to help the Green Terror acquire even more records and wins.

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"I hope that the next few seasons that I'm on the team can continue the way the second half of the season has gone," Vanscoy said. "That we can stay really close and, keep the team spirit going and have fun at every meet."

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Coach Jeff Hiestand, who is finishing his second season in charge of the program, pushed his swimmers hard at practice, making them strive to achieve personal and team bests.

Hiestand said his Terror's biggest strength is the swimmers' belief that they can match up against anyone.

With their belief and work ethic, fixing the few minor weakness they possess seems possible.

"Our closing speed needs to improve and just other little things like starts, turns, and flips," Hiestand said.

Next year McDaniel can look forward to new recruits on the team in an effort to improve scoring at meets.

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There are four swimmers that have verbally committed to coming, said Hiestand, and he's eager for their arrival.

"Three of them are automatic point scorers," he said. "I'm very excited but until they walk on campus I can't say that they're in the back pocket."


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