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Swimming Opens 2018-19 Season Tomorrow

kelley hilliker, tito alcazar and gena young in front of an eagle head logo

BRIDGEWATER, Va. – The Bridgewater College swimming program is set to open its 2018-19 season tomorrow at the ODAC Relays. This will be the second year for BC's men joining the women in varsity competition.

The Eagle women placed third at ODACs last year and had a dual meet record of 10-1 in arguably the best season in program history. They will be shorthanded early in the 2018-19 campaign however, with two-time All-ODAC selection Emma Daw studying abroad, promising freshman Jessica Touve playing soccer, and several other key swimmers working their way back into shape from injuries.

The Eagles' excellent depth should help them through the early part of the season however. Bridgewater features three returning All-ODAC swimmers- Daw (100 fly, 200 IM), Rachael King (100 fly, 200 fly) and senior captain Kelley Hilliker (400 IM, 100 back, 200 back).

"Kelley has achieved a lot in the pool for our team during her tenure at Bridgewater which has established her as one of 'the best' swimmers in the history of our program," said head coach Gwynn Harrison. "But what really sets Kelley apart in my mind is all the intangibles she brings to Bridgewater swimming. Her love of the sport of swimming and our team shines through in everything she does."

Hilliker enter the year holding six individual school records, while Daw is the record-holder in 11 individual events.

Bridgewater's strong upperclassman core also includes Laurel Glover, Jenna Walmer, Taylor Berard, Olivia Heeb-Wade and Genevieve Young.

Glover will captain the team this year along with Hilliker. "Laurel leads by example in and out of the water, and is highly respected by her teammates. They know they can count on her to lead our team," said Harrison.

A strong freshman class includes versatile rookie Zoe Moore, who will feature primarily in freestyle and breaststroke events, and local product Amanda Nesselrodt.

In just their second year as a program, the men will be relying even more on their rookie class, which comprises over half of the roster.

That group includes sprinter Kevin Whalen and well-rounded newcomer Austin Bacon. Ben Dillon and Wyatt Seraphin are also improving on their times in early practices.

The men will be led by sophomore Tito Alcazar, who placed in the top 11 in the ODAC in two events as a freshman, setting school records in 10 individual events in the Eagles' inaugural men's season.

"Tito is a great role model as a swimmer and person to our team, and very respected by everyone associated with our program," said Harrison. "He is a well-rounded swimmer, hard worker, and relates well to his teammates."

Jarrett Davis, the only senior on the squad, scored in the 100 butterfly at ODACs last year, while setting school marks in the 200 meter fly and four freestyle events.

"Jarratt has come into this season with high goals for himself and for our team, and has been working at an elevated level to achieve those goals," said Harrison. "As the only senior on our team, Jarratt will be counted upon to be a great role model for our five freshmen men. His leadership this year will leave a lasting impact on our new program for years to come."

"The base level of the men's team has gone up a lot," said Harrison, "But we are still young, and have a small roster."

The team goals include a winning dual meet record and higher conference finish for the men, while the women are aiming for a fourth consecutive top-4 placing in the conference. The challenge will get tougher every year however, as the ODAC continues to improve both in terms of times and number of teams.

"Our conference is getting better with the recent additions," said Harrison. "The ODAC meet has gotten so much faster in just the two years that I've been here."