Wilkes swim teams plan to come back strong this season

In the Fall of 2014, Wilkes University introduced both a Men’s and a Women’s swim team. The athletic board chose to hire Mark Barnes to be the head coach of the both teams.  Coach Barnes became the Colonel’s first swim coach in Wilkes’ history.

Barnes is no stranger to success. He has coached at two successful swimming programs in the Bloomsburg and Danville areas.

The Colonels have been working hard through the offseason to come back strong in the 2015 campaign.

The men’s team started out slow, losing the first seven dual meets of the season. The men placed 5th at the Diamond Invitational, proceeding to win the last meet of the season against FDU.

The women also had a rough start to the season, losing the first five meets of the season before finally beating FDU and New Rochelle College. The women’s team finished the season 2-7, and the men finished the season 1-7.

Even though both swim teams had a losing record, they fought hard in every meet. Coach Barnes said that his swimmers are a young group with enormous talent, but don’t have the experience just yet.

Both the men’s and the women’s team have a lot of young swimmers. They have 13 female swimmers and three of them are directly out of high school. Many of them haven’t swam for a swim team in a little while, so it took them some time to get back into competition mode.

The Colonels are looking forward to having a turnaround season with new addition of the freshman class that Coach Barnes brought in, but have already suffered a big loss with the injury to the men’s team MVP Jeff Mastrantuono.

Mastrantuono is a two-sport athlete and suffered a torn achilles during football season. With the loss of Mastrantuono, the team is losing the 150 points that Mastrantuono scored last year. He also set nine individual records and four relay records.

Coach Barnes said he has talked to the men about stepping up to fill the role that Mastrantuono left when he went down. Both teams look to do big things this year and have already started the season. Their first meet of the season starts Oct 10 and will take place at Widener.

A member of the Wilkes swim team perfects her start in preparation for meets.
A member of the Wilkes swim team perfects her start in preparation for meets.