The next few days will mark the beginning of the end to a solid season for the Rhode Island women’s swimming and diving team, but not before they finish leaving their mark at the Atlantic 10 Championship in Ohio this weekend.The Rams finished the regular season at a clip of 5-3-1, but had trouble down the stretch as they finished with two losses and a tie over their last three team meets.
However the trouble down the stretch can be attributed to injuries to some key swimmers, namely senior Chaya Zabludoff, and some poor weather conditions that have affected practice schedules. Nevertheless Rhode Island still finds itself in decent position to go make some noise in Ohio.
That being said, URI has a number of things going for them, namely the progress made by swimmers sophomores Bridget Whalen and Lauren Folkert, senior Jessica Andruzzi and the quartet of swimmers in the 200-yard medley.
Whalen, who is part of the 200-yard medley, has become one of the most dependable swimmers for Rhode Island and head coach Mick Westkott. Whalen most recently grabbed first in the 200-yard butterfly and 200-yard individual medley against Vermont. Whalen has yet to finish outside the top three finishers in the 200-yard butterfly this year.
Also important for URI is Andruzzi, who has become one of the most dominant swimmers in the 200-yard breaststroke. Andruzzi has finished first in the 200-yard breaststroke four of the past five meets, and the one time she did not finish ahead of everyone else, she still managed to come in third. She will need to continue to be elite in the 200-yard breaststroke for URI to compete during the Atlantic 10 Championship.
In addition to Andruzzi and Whalen, Folkert has come into her own this season. Folkert has been a stalwart in the 200-yard backstroke, and has become one of the top options in the Atlantic 10. She has finished first in five of the eight meets in the event, while finishing second in the other three.
Finally, there is the 200-yard medley, which consists of Whalen, freshman Hannah Homans and seniors Rachel Revolinski and Colette Aubin. Â This group of swimmers has consistently provided top-3 finishes for the Rams, finishing first three times and second four times.
Zabludoff’s health is a linchpin as well. In the Atlantic 10 Championship last year, she achieved two first-place finishes, one of which was a conference and pool record. Zabludoff could make a huge difference when it comes to not only the confidence of the team, but also having yet another elite performer to pair with the 200-yard medley.
URI certainly has their work cut out for them at the Atlantic 10 Championship, but if those factors remain consistent, and they have some luck on their side, they can achieve unprecedented success.