The Appalachian Swimming Conference coaches poll has ranked Brenau University, last year’s conference champions, in the No. 1 spot in its 2015-16 preseason rankings.
After dominating the field to win the ASC title in last season’s championship meet, the Golden Tigers went on to claim third place in the nation — its highest finish ever — at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics finals in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
In his first year as head coach, the Golden Tigers’ coach Nate Rhoads said the preseason rankings validate the 2015-16 squad’s goal to repeat as conference champs and place even higher in national standings.
“It means a lot to be recognized by the other coaches in the ASC for our past accomplishments,” Rhoads said, “but this ranking motivates us to train hard and strive to repeat as conference champions.”
The ASC, Rhoads said, is very competitive this year. The key to the team’s success, he said, is mastering the fundamentals. That means improving stroke technique, hitting off the walls faster and consistently placing high in relays.
It’s also an opportunity for the new recruits and some of the returning swimmers to truly shine.
“The people who win events, they are going to keep making it to finals and winning,” he said. “It’s what the people who qualify and the consolation swimmers do that is going to determine the outcome of the season.”
The Golden Tigers are off to a hot start, having beaten Columbia College and Point University at the team’s first meet of the season on Sept. 26.
Brenau’s next meet is at the Fifth Annual Women’s Swimming Invite at Converse College starting on Friday in Spartanburg, South Carolina.