The Assumption College women’s swim program is on the move and freshman Victoria Weber hopes to play a key role in its success. So far, the Cony High School graduate has fulfilled the expectations of coach Stuart Cromarty.
In 13 meets so far, Weber has recorded five first places, five seconds and three thirds. Earlier this season she was named Northeast-10 Conference Rookie of the Week.
“She’s the top performing freshman so far,” Cromarty said.
Weber set all but one school record at Cony, capping her career with a second place finish in the 100-yard freestyle at the Class A state meet. She looked at the University of Maine and Providence College before settling on Division II Assumption, located in Worcester, Mass.
“I really liked the school,” she said. “It just felt like home.”
The Greyhounds haven’t hit the meat of their schedule yet, but should be one of the conference favorites this year. So far, they are 11-2, losing only to Boston College and Niagara, both Division I schools. In just their fifth year as a program, they’re ranked 25th among 98 Division II schools and have been ranked as high as 14th.
The Hounds will be tested this week in a meet at the University of Rhode Island for which Cromarty said they’ll “mini-taper,” meaning they’ll cut down on their yardage over a five-day period.
“No one is doing their fast times yet,” he said. “They’re tired, they’ve been doing a lot of weights. During the championship season (in February) they have about 16 days to taper.”
Weber is good at just about every stroke but is a classic sprinter, excelling in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle and competing on several relay teams. Cromarty, who is acquainted with Cony swim coach Jon Millett through the Masters swim program, saw plenty of her in action on tape.
“One of the main reasons for recruiting her was to fill in the sprint freestyle gap,” Cromarty said.
Weber has embraced the collegiate practice routine despite its difficulty. The team participates in morning swims and lifting sessions three days a week as well as two-hour afternoon practices each day.
“It’s definitely more of a time commitment and lot more hard work,” Weber said. “It’s really part of your life here, but I love it.”
Weber expects the weight training to yield faster times later in the season. Right now, she’s at about 55 seconds in the 100, about a second above her time at last year’s state meet. Both Weber and her coach expect much lower times later in the season, including this weekend. In fact, Cromarty thinks that Weber’s goal of 53 seconds flat in the 100 may have to be adjusted to an even lower time.
“I’ve learned a lot here,” Weber said. “I’ve gotten a lot of help on flip turns and starts.”
In addition to the sprints and four relays, Weber has also swum in backstroke and butterfly events. Swimmers are allowed to participate in three individual events and four relays. The 50 and the 100 are her staples, but Cromarty is looking for that third event. This weekend, she’s also entered in the 200 freestyle.
“It will be interesting to see after this meet what is her top event,” Cromarty said. “She’s also a great butterfly swimmer and her breaststroke times are right up there, too.
“She’s definitely proving to be a great competitor. She’s coming into her own.”
Weber is on an academic and athletic scholarship and plans to major in English with a concentration in elementary education.
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638