STEUBENVILLE, Ohio— The inaugural season of Franciscan University's swimming and diving team was exceptional, setting high standards and receiving honors throughout the season that led to ultimately winning second place in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference championship. "The girls bonded deeply as a team and struggled through the season together, emerging victorious!" said head coach Rebecca Recznik.
Victorious is right, and Recznik would know. The AMCC named her Coach of the Year for her leadership over the Lady Barons in 2011-12.
The theme of the swimming and diving team this season focused on the ancient Greek words "agon" and "arete." Agon refers to a process of embracing hard work and conflict and finding motivation in challenges. Arete means virtue and helped the team strive to embrace agon through virtuous living.
"Our theme absolutely carried us through the season and played a significant role in our success as AMCC runner-up," she said. "Each swimmer or diver has unique gifts, and we needed each person's individual strengths to help us achieve arete."
Junior GraceAnne Beatovich, a middle distance swimmer from Yorktown, Va., was awarded AMCC swimmer of the week twice during the season.
"GraceAnne is, strong and committed swimmer," said Recznik. "We relied on her a lot this year to keep pulling us forward when things were tough, and she did it."
Junior Danielle Tremblay, a diver from Buffalo, N.Y., was also twice twice recognized by the AMCC as diver of the week. Despite never having dived before, she helped the Lady Barons secure its second place award through her performance at the AMCC championship.
"After battling an injury through much of the fall, she rallied in the spring semester and really represented our team well," said Recznik.
Coach Recznik noted that the team never stopped striving to improve and focused on continually breaking their own records.
"Emily Pass had two exceptional performances (this season) when she cut approximately 30 seconds off her 1,000-yard freestyle time, and when she out-touched a Frostburg State University swimmer at tri meet to basically win the meet for us," she said.
Maria Deuchar, a sophomore from Pierre, S.D., also had an exceptional season, lowering her times in nearly every event she swam.
Freshman Maria Giuliani, middle distance swimmer from Grass Valley, Calif., swam a notable performance during the AMCC championship, swimming her fastest times in the 100-yard freestyle (58.15) to take third place, winning the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:05.67, and finishing second in the 500-yard freestyle (5:45.61). Giuliani was singled out by the AMCC for her performance and honored as Newcomer of the Year.
The Lady Barons finished the season 4-4 and second overall in the AMCC with a total of 150 championship points.
"While I am very excited and proud of what the girls accomplished in just the first year of this program, I know that this is only the beginning," said Recznik. "They have laid a firm foundation and they leave a strong legacy for the team to follow next year."