HUNTINGDON, PA – The Juniata College women's swimming team is poised to make strides forward in the 2015-16 season. Head coach Nathan Smith is confident in the leadership of the upperclassmen and enthusiastic about what the incoming freshmen will bring to the team.
"We have some good freshmen," Smith said. "They are going to end up contributing a lot at the end of the year. We have two freshmen, Jocelyn Skelly (Hershey, Pa. / Hersher High School) and Francesca Ferguson (Altoona, Pa. / Altoona Area HS) that together, end up replacing everything we graduated and adding more onto that. I think they are both going to improve a lot over the course of the season."
Smith also indicates that he has a strong group of seniors ready to step up.
"All of our seniors lead," Smith said. "Caitlin McCann (Chevy Chase, Md. / Bethesda Chevy Chase) and Tzvia Cahn (San Jose, Calif. / Kehilia Jewish) have become much better swimmers than when they first started and have stepped up a lot.
McCann swam a personal best in the 100-yard breaststroke after being abroad for the fall semester at the 2014-15 Landmark Championship Meet with a time of 1:15.29.
Cahn reached a personal best in the 50-yard freestyle at the Swarthmore Invitational Nov. 22 with a time of 25.26 and was a major part of the 200-yard freestyle relay team.
In addition to McCann and Cahn, Smith identifies the rest of the senior class as major assets to the team as well.
"All of our seniors are in different training groups so they all lead different parts of the team," Smith said. "The entire senior class is really good right now. Now, we are waiting for Sarah Rhodes (Bloomfield, N.Y. / Bloomfield) to finish up a great soccer season and join us for a great swim season."
In looking ahead to how the season will progress, Smith adds that he expects the team to excel in freestyle and butterfly and make gains in distance events.
"Our sprinters should do pretty well, and I think our distance swimmers should do better too," Smith said. "We have Christine Whiteman (Delmont / Franklin Regional) coming back from an injury last year, and Elizabeth Hainsworth (Glade Spring / Patrick Henry) should improve there with her. I think they could have a breakout year."
The Eagles will open the 2015-16 season at home against Millersville University on Oct. 17. The team will compete in their first conference meet on Nov. 7 against Scranton and Goucher and will continue conference competition after the holiday break on Jan. 9 against Marywood and Susquehanna.
"With the teams we're close to, a couple of good swims could make all the difference," Smith added regarding conference competition. "I think we will be more competitive by the end of the year.