A crop of exceptional swimmers and divers have both boys and girls swimming and diving coaches excited about their prospects for the 2018-2019 season.
Headlining both programs is phenom Jillian Cudney ’20, who already holds four school records after just two years in the program. Last year Cudney set a new Founders League record in both the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle, and anchored new school records in both the 200-yard medley relay and the 200-yard freestyle relay.
“She’s aiming really high,” said head coach Michelle Repass. “She has a clear perspective of the big picture and that’s what drives her competitive nature.” Repass added that Cudney has a singular dedication to improving her swimming skills, practicing certain techniques over and over again for even the slightest improvement.
Cudney entered the season as a known quantity, but what has been perhaps the most pleasant surprise is the strength and depth of the diving program, particularly on the girls side. Last season co-captain Olivia King ’19 set a new school record for 11 dives in winning the Founders League diving title, and in just the first meet of the season, newcomer Meera Kasturi ’22 broke the school record for six dives.
“The girls team is a real powerhouse this year,” said diving coach Heather Perrenoud, noting that Kasturi was ranked third in New England after her record-setting performance against Miss Porter’s.
Recording strong diving performances, which typically happen in the middle of head-to-head meets, has provided a huge momentum boost to the girls team, said Repass. “Last year there were so many times when we were behind before diving and ahead after diving,” she said.
Many other girls on the team have the potential for breakout seasons, and several new swimmers have exciting potential. Repass highlighted Auden Koetters ’22 and Emily Bukowski ’22 as two new faces to watch this season.
On the boys side, returners William Wildish ’20 and Leo Poggi ’21 will anchor a squad that looks to continue making improvements from the end of last season. Head coach Keith Moon praised the enthusiasm and effort thus far, and highlighted some of the young new talent entering the program.
“Ultimately we’re excited to see some of those young kids fulfill what I think is great potential,” said Moon, noting the prospects of newcomers like Zach Scrima ’22 and Jeffrey Lim ’21 and returners like Chris Tolis ’21.
Like last year, the Bearcats will be looking forward to the end of the season, when Hotchkiss will once again play host to the Founders League championships. Swimming a year-end meet at home is always an exciting opportunity for both teams, said Moon. “They absolutely love swimming at home. We have the best pool in New England,” he said.