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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Officials to clear homeless encampment near campus in May
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • March 4, 2024

Men’s and women’s swimming and diving continue A-10 dominance

As both the men’s and women’s teams look to recruit for next year, Head Coach Brian Thomas said he casts a wide net and looks for athletes that will buy into the team’s culture.

GW men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both continued their dominance of the Atlantic 10 Championships this year, marking the third year in a row that the men’s team won the A-10 Championship and the second year in a row where the women’s team won the conference title.

The men’s team set three A-10 records and 21 program records in their A-10 Championship appearance while the women’s team broke 14 school records across 19 events. Topping the list of specific event performances, men’s swimmers junior Karol Mlynarczyk, freshman Preston Lin, redshirt junior Djurdje Matic and freshman Ganesh Sivaramakrishnan smashed the A-10 record in the 200-yard freestyle medley relay for a gold medal with 1:25.69.

On the women’s side, freshman Phoebe Wright won the meet’s Most Outstanding Rookie Performer award after receiving a gold medal in the 200-yard freestyle while freshman Ava Topolewski broke the A-10 1650-yard freestyle record and beat GW’s record for the event with a time of 16:27.78.

To start the postseason, sophomore Julia Knox became the first women’s swimmer to represent the Colonials at the NCAA Championship since GW Hall of Famer Meghan Mitchell qualified in 1995.

Overseeing both programs is Head Coach Brian Thomas who has led the men’s and women’s programs since 2018 and was named A-10 Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his career February. Thomas emphasized that keeping a steady training schedule and eliminating distractions has been a major key to the team’s recent success.

“I think every team has distractions throughout the year and especially being in school in the middle of Washington, D.C., there’s plenty of avenues for that,” Thomas said. “But this team was able to put that aside and did a pretty good job of maintaining their consistency and the high level of training that they’ve established.”

Junior Dylan Koo said at the start of every season, both the men’s and women’s teams outline the goals they have for that season, helping them envision a step-by-step process toward the end-of-season competition. Koo said even though a lot of these goals, such as making the NCAAs, aren’t achieved by the end of the season, the very process of inching closer to them is what helps the team continuously improve and achieve high levels of performance. 

Multiple swimmers praised Thomas’ personal skills and attention to detail, two aspects that undoubtedly improved the team’s performance and helped Thomas win A-10 Coach of the Year for the second-consecutive season and the third time in four years. Sophomore Molly Smyers said when she was being recruited, she wanted to be somewhere where she could have an open door to talk to her coach anytime. 

“He creates a very safe space where you can go to the office at any point whenever you want to kind of talk about whatever is on your mind, and that’s something I didn’t have with any of my coaches back at home,” Smyers said.

As both the men’s and women’s teams look to recruit for next year, Thomas said he casts a wide net and looks for athletes that will buy into the team’s culture and help build it up.

“I think we are believers in what we have within the culture of the team and most young people are looking for that,” Thomas said. “So we just have to get the word out, and that takes a lot of work.”

Looking ahead to next season, the men’s team has their eyes on a fourth-consecutive conference title and the women’s team on a third. Thomas talked about the potential challenges he sees arising next season as the Colonials look to solidify their dynasty.

“I think having a target on your back changes things, you know, and we always want to be cognizant of that,” Thomas said. “I have a lot of respect for the other teams, the other coaches that are in the conference, and I think it’s probably just a matter of time before things balance out and swing in another direction.” 

Matic talked about the importance of focusing on each season one at a time and practicing humility as the team prepares for their next run.

“I would only say we’ve got to take one year at a time, every year is for itself,” Matic said. “And we’re gonna stay humble and not think we’re better than anyone because that’s gonna get us, so we got to stay hungry and humble.”

The men’s and women’s teams will now use this offseason to pursue their training regiment and gear up to continue their dominant stretch into the 2023-24 season. 

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