Letter from H2OYAS Co-Presidents
Greetings on behalf of H2OYAS, the Georgetown swimming & diving support club. Spring has arrived, and that means Georgetown swimming & diving has just finished another record-setting season. The team's accomplishments this season were substantial:
Sent a record 43 swimmers and divers to the 2010 BIG EAST Championships
Placed 7 swimmers in the top 16 in their individual events at the 2010 BIG EAST Championships
Women's team recorded its best dual-meet record in school history at 10-2
Men's team broke 5 school records, women's team broke 9 school records
Sent two divers to NCAA Zone Championships
Not only did the team set records in the pool, they also had yet another banner year outside of the pool: both the men's and women's team achieved CSCAA Academic All-American status in Fall 2009--for 33rd consecutive semester. This continues a proud tradition at Georgetown of not just athletic excellence, but academic excellence as well. Our H2OYA swimmers and divers epitomize what it means to be a "student-athlete," and we congratulate them on their outstanding achievements this season. The Georgetown swimming & diving coaching staff, including Head Coach Steve Cartwright, Assistant Coach Josh Wegrzyn, Diving Coach Emily Richmond, and Volunteer Assistant Coach Norman Wright, also deserve our praise for helping achieve these outstanding results.
Last year was also the 60th Anniversary of swimming & diving at Georgetown. Over 80 alums spanning more than five decades came back to the Hilltop to celebrate what it means to be an H2OYA, and reaffirm their commitment to make sure future generations enjoy the same great opportunity to swim and dive at Georgetown that they experienced.
The 60th Anniversary Weekend, coupled with donations from alumni, parents, and friends of the program, brought in over $83,000 last year in support of our current swimmers and divers - also an H2OYAS record. A number of very generous donations also allowed Georgetown swimming and diving to purchase and install a new scoreboard at Yates so that the team can continue to host dual-meets at Georgetown. Thank you to all of our loyal donors for your support last year.
For this fiscal year, we have an aggressive goal of $85,000. The University is looking to the athletic support clubs this year more than ever to help them cover the increasing costs of participating in 29 sports. Your support will directly fund almost one third of the team's total operating budget, help make the Georgetown swimming & diving experience possible for next year's student-athletes, and allow the program to reach even greater heights in the future.
We hope that you will continue your commitment to Georgetown Swimming & Diving and consider making a donation to the program before June 30, 2010, the end of the current fiscal year. To make a donation, please visit www.guhoyas.com/hoyasunlimited/ or contact the Hoyas Unlimited staff at (202) 687-7159.
Your H2OYAS Co-Presidents:
T.C. Roberge (C `96, L `99)
Kevin Feder (F `02, L '07)
H2OYAS Alumni Events May 1 & 2 --Please RSVP
For our upcoming Georgetown Swimming & Diving Alumni events, in conjunction with John Carroll Weekend:
H2OYAS ALUMNI BAR NIGHT
Saturday, May, 1, 2010: 9:00 PM - ?
1218 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20007
No R.S.V.P. necessary
H2OYAS ALUMNI BRUNCH
Sunday, May 2, 2010: 1:00 PM @Chadwick's
Come enjoy brunch with other Swimming & Diving alums to help welcome our 2010 graduating seniors into the H2OYAS Alumni Association.
Chadwick's is located at 3205 K Street N.W. (corner of Wisconsin & K
Streets in Georgetown). Brunch will be approximately $20 per person.
R.S.V.P. to Christina DiNapoli (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Other JOHN CARROLL WEEKEND events:
April 29 - May 2, 2010
Generous Gifts Make New Scoreboard Possible
During the first week of November, the Georgetown University swimming & diving program witnessed the primary goal of a three-and-a-half-year campaign coming to fruition as a state-of-the-art scoreboard was mounted on the wall of the Albert G. McCarthy, Jr. Swimming Pool. An effort of alumni, family, and friends of the swimming & diving program, the new high-tech display replaces an aging scoreboard that had long-exceeded its expected lifespan. The new scoreboard display, along with the Team's timing system, enabled the Hoyas to continue hosting NCAA-compliant dual meets this season.
In addition, Head Coach Steve Cartwright reports that the Colorado Time Systems scoreboard "has provided a large boost to our student-athletes," who can now look up after a race and see their name alongside their time. According to Coach Cartwright, "this is a large advancement in our efforts to continue to better the student-athlete experience." The new scoreboard has also allowed the Team to run meets more efficiently.
The campaign to raise funds for the much-needed new scoreboard was organized by Coach Cartwright, Hoyas Unlimited, the Georgetown Athletics Development Office, and the swimming & diving support club, H2OYAS. However, it was the generous gifts of our alumni, family, and friends that made the new scoreboard a reality.
Reflecting back on the success of this campaign, Coach Cartwright said, "My main goal here [was] to continue to raise excitement about the program, to keep alumni and friends involved and give them ownership. The bottom line is these people are going to be alumni of Georgetown for much longer than their four years as swimmers and divers. We have worked to cultivate this principle and it has built momentum."
Coach Cartwright also hopes to instill the same values in the student-athletes currently on the squad. "One of the biggest lessons I hope to teach is the value of giving back," Cartwright added. "The value of realizing that there were athletes before you and athletes will come after. It is about providing people with the experience that you had and the unparalleled opportunity to compete and learn here at Georgetown."
Georgetown Swimming & Diving would like to thank:
Betsy Comerford B' 80 and William Spinelli
Maura and Frank Comerford B' 77
Nancy and David Donovan F' 72
Pam B' 83 and Paul Donlin B' 83
Candy and John Hickey C' 74
Carol and Mark Kenyon C' 74
Mary Beth and Tim LiVolsi PARS C' 10
Adam and Martha Metz B '84
Margo and Hans Noisten PARS B'13
Michael Scanlan C' 86
Claire C' 92 and John Sheehan C' 92
Marybeth N' 79 and John Wooters C' 75
Meg and Scott Young C' 88
Georgetown Swimming Alum Becomes 33rd Person to Complete Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming
On Monday, August 3, 2009, Elaine Kornbau Howley (COL '00) became only the 33rd person ever to complete the Triple Crown of open water swimming when she successfully finished a solo, one-way crossing of the English Channel between Dover, England and Wissant, France in 13 hours and 55 minutes. Elaine completed all three swims in the Triple Crown-- the 21-mile Catalina Channel, the 28.5-mile around Manhattan Island swim, and the 21-mile English Channel-- in less than 11 months and added her name to a very short list of international open water swimming stars who have completed the trifecta. Elaine's English Channel swim raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America and was dedicated to her sister's memory.
Elaine began her Triple Crown quest with a solo crossing of the 21-mile Catalina Channel on September 22, 2009, which she completed in 10 hours 57 minutes and 44 seconds. She then finished 17th overall in the annual 28.5 mile circumnavigation of Manhattan Island as part of the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (MIMS) race held June 6, 2009. She completed that solo swim in 8 hours 39 minutes and 50 seconds. The last and hardest of the three swims was her successful English Channel swim, which Elaine says was an incredible journey.
"The English Channel was the longest swim I've done to date (time-wise), and though I was well prepared, there really is no way of being 100% ready for what the ocean can throw at you. It's physically demanding to swim the distance (we calculated that with the tides and currents, I actually traveled about 30 miles over the nearly 14 hours), but I felt strong the whole way. The water held steady at about 62-63 degrees and I dealt with a range of conditions, though they were generally very good, and I had what most pilots and channel swimmers would call a rather uneventful crossing." Elaine completed all three cold water swims without the aid of a wetsuit.
Despite all the training and preparation, there was a moment in her swim when Elaine wasn't sure whether she'd be able to reach the French side of the Channel. "There was a small point at about eight hours into the swim when I faltered a little and really wasn't sure I was going to get there. I was struggling with some mild seasickness and started to get nervous. I was also getting a little frustrated, and that's when I wasn't sure I could do it. But my crew kept me going, and soon the seasickness passed and I was back in a groove, feeling like I might just get there if I could just keep my head together."
Elaine says these ups and downs are a normal part of these kinds of extreme challenges. "In many ways, being successful is more about taking control of your mental state than it is about the actual physical feat of swimming the distance. Reigning in my fears and insecurities about my abilities is probably the biggest challenge. Staying focused to the end is something that takes a lot of resolve and a good measure of faith in yourself and your training."
Elaine is a Corporate Marketing Specialist for Simpson, Gumpertz, and Heger, a top engineering firm based in Waltham, MA, where she handles proposal development. She is also a freelance writer for SWIMMER magazine. She began swimming competitively at age five, was captain of the swim team at Haddonfield Memorial High School in Haddonfield, New Jersey, before swimming at Georgetown. Elaine says that swimming at Georgetown was "the best decision I could have ever made personally and for my swimming career. I learned so much about swimming, made lifelong friends, and really gained a true appreciation for how to train ... I am forever grateful for the doors the varsity team opened for me."
Elaine's next endeavor will be a 10-mile swim in Lake Memphremagog, Vermont this July--although she plans to complete many more open water swims in the future. You can read more about Elaine and her swims and training by visiting her blog at: http://blog.talesofthebeerbaby.com/.
H2OYA Alums Celebrate 60th Anniversary of Georgetown Swimming & Diving
by Mike McCarthy (COL `97)
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Georgetown Swimming & Diving, more than 80 H2OYAS of all generations returned to the Hilltop in April 2009 for a reunion weekend with a little bit of swimming, a lot of partying, and a big boost for the future of the program. It was an impressive turnout of stars of the past decades -- from the pioneers of the 60s and 70s when Georgetown didn't even have a pool on campus, to the young alumni from the 2000s, and alumni from the 80s and 90s in between.
The festivities kicked off Friday night at -- where else? -- The Tombs. The H2OYAS managed to take over the entire lower level until closing time. They ran up what appears to be the largest bar tab in H2OYAS history at the Tombs (although, like box office numbers, this record does not account for inflation).
There was little time to rest up, however, before the alumni meet on Saturday morning. While some of the older generations grumbled about how racing suits used to be made of canvas and burlap and weighed 12 pounds, others showed their competitive instincts by wearing the new-style full-body suits. The swimming was ... Actually, the less said about the swimming, the better. Suffice it to say that while many alumni have stayed quite fit on a relative basis, the current swimmers had little trouble dispatching the competition.
After the meet, festivities! Georgetown hosted a lunch reception in McShain Lounge in the Southwest Quad (one of those new buildings that nobody who graduated before 2000 had ever been in, located on what they remembered as the parking lot for Homecoming tailgates). Everyone gathered for food, drinks, and "Remember whens?," followed by speeches, both touching and comical, about what the program has meant to alumni, and what we hope it will continue to mean for future generations. H2OYAS Co-President T.C. Roberge brought down the house with his presentation of the history of the program, gleaned from the University archives at Lauinger library (reprinted elsewhere in this newsletter).
Saturday night brought the main event -- a gala reception at Clyde's downtown. As soon as we walked in and saw a large equestrian statue in the room, everyone knew it was only a matter of time before the horse was mounted. (It took until about 9:30. Casey Schick (B '95) was responsible.) A great spread, free-flowing drink and conversation, and a hell of a slideshow with old and embarrassing pictures made for a proper tribute to the spirit of Georgetown Swimming & Diving. The party continued into the wee hours at the bar, again shutting the place down at 3 am.
On Sunday morning, those who were not crippled by athletic injuries suffered at the meet or non-athletic injuries suffered at the bar re-gathered for a brunch at Chadwick's in Georgetown.
Overall, the weekend was a huge success that showed the vitality and importance of Georgetown Swimming and Diving across generations: memories were relived, teammates reconnected, and friendships renewed. The weekend alone raised more than $13,000 for the program, and contributed to a new record-setting fundraising year. Onward from the 60th Anniversary and many more years, laps, and celebrations to come!
The History of H2OYAS
by Mike McCarthy (COL '97)
In 1949, Georgetown student Bob Windish put together the first swim team at Georgetown. They had no pool to train in on campus, so traveled down to the YMCA and later to American University for their practices. In January 1950, a small squad of Georgetown swimmers journeyed across Washington to swim Catholic University. They were outnumbered, but won a few races, and it was enough to plan a full schedule of meets for the next year. Having no home pool, the team did a lot of traveling during the early years of the 1950's, and the records show that they were sent around the country as representatives of Georgetown. In one thoroughly Protestant town in the deep South that didn't have a Catholic church, Coach Windish pointed out that to this town the swimmers weren't just representing Georgetown, they were representing the Pope too. In 1951, the team competed at McGill University in Canada, which is noted as the first Georgetown team to compete outside the United States. The early years included training trips to Florida as well - not so different from the winter training trips of today.
The early teams performed well - from 1953-56 they posted a total record of 31-5. At that time, football had been deemphasized and basketball had not yet risen to prominence, so the swim team was one of the most competitive programs that Georgetown fielded. It helped that the expenses were low - a memo from 1953 shows that the team's expenses were two dozen blue sweat suits, two dozen foot "klogs," two dozen nylon racing trunks, and medals and trophies.
The records of the early years are a bit unclear about the quality of swimming -- is the team record of 29.8 in the 60 yard freestyle fast or slow? - but stories of team camaraderie abound. When one swimmer needed a blood transfusion, the other swimmers raced to the hospital to see who could push out a pint of blood fastest. This was a departure from some of the future intra-team competitions that focused more on who could ingest fluids fastest.
The program slipped back a bit in the 1960s. In 1963 the team was without a coach at the beginning of the season, and didn't even get organized until December of that year.
The big change in the 1970s was the introduction of women to the program after Georgetown became a coed school. In those years there was no separate women's team - they competed in the same events as the men.
The 1980s marked a new era in the program. First, with the opening of Yates Field House in 1979, the team finally had a home pool on campus. Women's swimming was established as a separate sport, and both teams competed in the new Big East conference. And new coaches Jeff Bryan and Mark Pugliese put their stamp on the program. Both were accomplished swimmers who emphasized solid training and fast times. At the same time, they retained a sense of humor about the program - when one questionnaire asked Jeff Bryan about his history of academic honors, he filled it out as "you've got to be kidding.."
The team has gotten progressively faster and more competitive during the 1990s and 2000s, while retaining the emphasis on the student-athlete experience. While one headline in the Hoya in the early 1990s said "H2oyas sink to depths of Big East" after a last place performance at the championship meet, today's teams send a full squad of qualifiers to the Big East championships and place swimmers into the finals. Every team swimming record has been broken in the past ten years, and the teams have received academic all-American status for 31 straight semesters.