Swimming preview: Making a splash

The swim team opened their 2023 season with wins over Bellarmine and IUPUI. Photo by Jonathan Wang.

JULIA LORELLI | SPORTS REPORTER | jlorelli@butler.edu 

The swim team dives into the 2023-24 season with high hopes and strong chemistry in the water. The team has one common goal: to qualify for the Big East Championships. 

Head coach Stewart Maurice wants his team to improve both in and outside of the pool. 

“My expectations for the team is to continue to help improve the team culture, the team bond, team unity; that’s going to promote a strong team, a competitive team and a team that’s going to be successful,” Maurice said. 

As any athlete knows, success starts well before a competition, through training and practices. Having supportive teammates can make the road to success easier. 

“I think we have a great team with every team member supporting one another, encouraging one another in training in competition,” Maurice said. “They are invested in one another, and that’s where I believe we’re on a very strong positive start to our season.” 

Along with their coach, the swimmers believe that their team bond is strong. Junior Avery Piel loves how the team has come together. 

“I can honestly say our team chemistry is the best that I have seen it since coming to Butler,” Piel said. “All of the girls on the team are so supportive and genuine both in and out of the water.” 

First-year Lauren Bergman was drawn to Butler swimming because of the other girls on the team. 

“The team environment is so fun and supportive,” Bergman said. “Our coaches are also amazing mentors and care about each of us getting better.” 

Each swimmer works hard during long practices, and their efforts do not go unacknowledged. A typical training day involves a warm up, pre-set, an intensive, long main set, a post set and a warm down. 

“We also do a good team bond, doing some shout-outs to see individuals speaking up for one another on who had a great practice,” Maurice said. “Who did well, who worked hard, who got better and then we break it down with a dog call [chant].” 

The swim team has four captains: two-time senior captain Grace Crane, junior Abby Hobrough, junior Cotter Welch and senior Emily Landwehr. The captains are expected to serve as communicators between the team and the coaching staff while also advising their other teammates. 

“The expectation for them is to keep the team unified and together,” Maurice said. “And really be a guide and be there for everyone on the team to help solve challenges, good days, bad days, and be a good liaison between the team and the coaching staff.” 

Bergman looks up to the captains as examples in more aspects than just swimming. 

“They lead us with positivity and encouragement in and out of the water,” Bergman said. “I would also say the entire team as a whole stands out because we are like a family.” 

Each member of the team has set their own goals to help improve the team as a whole. 

Bergman has enjoyed her first year of swimming at Butler so far, and has already set lofty goals for herself. She said she is currently working on improving her sprint events, and hopes to swim the 100 fly, 100 free and 50 free at the Big East Tournament. 

Just as ambitious, Piel has set her sights on improving her time in the 200 butterfly and 200 individual medley, and hopes to swim at least one event in the Big East finals. Although she came to Butler mostly focusing on the 200 butterfly, she has shifted her focus to also include other strokes. 

Piel expects to compete in every meet this season, ideally swimming three events at both the House of Champions Invite and the Big East Championships. She will swim in the 200 butterfly and 200 individual medley, but her third event will depend on how the season goes. She said it will either be the 200 freestyle or 100 butterfly. 

During meets, the team’s goal is to be the loudest and proudest team on deck and push each other to get a hand on the wall before the rest of the competition. 

For the Big East specifically, we want to work together to score more points every year, which we have done the last two years,” Piel said. “The big goal is to beat both Providence and Seton Hall this coming season.” 

Piel’s goals extend beyond the pool, where she wants to support and hold her teammates accountable in school as well. She wants her teammates to take more responsibility for their actions than they have in the past. 

“If we notice a girl on the team is not putting genuine effort in at practice or weightlifting, has been missing classes and/or practices or anything along those lines, we have made a promise to check in with that individual and try to push them harder to do their best work,” Piel said. 

Bergman agrees with Piel, and wants to help push the team to be the best they can be. The team is very excited to see what they can do this season. 

“Our goals are to have a fun and supportive season and compete as strongly as we can during dual meets and at the Big East,” Bergman said. 


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