Harris Looks to Fill Big Shoes as Coach: Both Men’s and Women’s Swim Teams will Open Their Season Saturday

By Pat Mariboe
Senior Sports Writer

There are some new faces leading the swim team this season, whose men’s team finished last year with a 10-0 regular season record before placing third in the Centennial Conference Championships, while the women’s team finished with a 5-6 record and a sixth place finish in the CC Championships. Assistant and Associate Coach Matt Harris was promoted to the Head Coaching job this season following Kim Lessard’s promotion to Assistant Athletic Director this past summer. Harris will have some big shoes to fill, Lessard leaves her head coaching position after nearly 25 years, with a .631 winning percentage during her time at Washington College. Although it’s a big step for Harris in his coaching career, the new Head Coach is full of confidence and ready for the season to begin.
“As a Head Coach. the experience has been very new and challenging in a good way,” said Harris. “While I had a very good relationship with all of the athletes having recruited and coached them, implementing my style of coaching has definitely been something of a challenge as we work towards a common goal in February. I am really working a lot on realizing that every decision, no matter how small, makes a big difference in both teams dynamics, and I’m working to become better at them every day in the position.”
The Shoremen lost five seniors this past spring, including longtime powerhouses Charles Logan and Lucas Morgan. The Shoremen look to replace the loss of last year’s senior leadership with this year’s current senior class, which includes Pat Elliot, Danny Furman, Brent Hochstein, and Jason Mercando. The Shorewomen lost three seniors and look to fill their void of leadership with current seniors Jackie Creitz, Ellen Maxwell, Maddie Morrissette, and Angelina Tomasura. For the men, Elliot, Furman, and Hochstein will all be serving as captains this season, while Maxwell, junior Maija Adourian, and junior Katie Gorman will be the captains for the women.
In terms of preseason workouts and practices, Harris is content with how the team is performing so far. “Practices to this point have been great,” he said. “We’re nearly five weeks in and we have really gone up in yardage. We’ve been implementing some new styles of practice, and everything is ‘timed out’ so to speak, so there’s less wasted time and I think productivity has increased. I am really trying to challenge every athlete’s idea of their ‘comfort zone’ and what they’re able to do. We don’t want to put limitations on ourselves, and once our team realizes what they’re capable of I think we are going to see some really amazing things out of them in competition.”
On Saturday, Elliot had two first place finishes in the 1000 meter and 500 meter in freestyles, along with a second place finish in the 200 meter backstroke.
But his strong individual performance wasn’t enough to save the Shoremen as they lost to the Diplomats 157-105. Hochstein and freshman Teague Sauter also placed first in the 200 butterfly and 200 meter breaststroke, respectively.
“This looks like a disappointment on paper, but if you look at where we were last year we are on target for another awesome season,” Harris said. “It’s not that we swam poorly; Franklin and Marshall swam very well. They were the home team on opening day and they really came out swimming fast. It was great competition, and it was a great opening meet for the men.  There were a few races that didn’t go our way and we fell behind, but our men’s team is going to recover from this and do some big things later in the year. Increased yardage and lifting has us very tired. I was very proud of all of their performances, and I think it gives us a great foothold for the rest of the year.”
The Shorewomen, though they won nine out of the 14 events, the team fell to the Diplomats in dramatic fashion with a score of , 134-128. It was a big day for junior Jenni Clune, sophomore Julia Portmann, and freshman Lindsay Wiecki, who all won two events each for the Shorewomen.
“A brief look into last year will show you that we lost by at least 50 points last year to Franklin and Marshall,” Harris said. “Our women’s team this year is going to be a force. Given how well they did against the third best team in our conference, I was really proud of the effort on the ladies side. No one would have bet on us in this one and we were only a few wins away from getting it. We had some important swims, namely from Savannah Quade and Olivia Karanian, who swam off-events to get points for us. Lindsay Wiecki was huge for us in the fly events and Julia Portmann, as always, was dominant in the distance events. Leadership from our three new captains and a very tough, never-say-die women’s team was in prime form today.”
Both teams look to get back to winning ways with plenty more meets to come when they open up their home account against CC opponents Gettysburg on Saturday, Nov. 5.

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