Racing down the pool, gasping for air and pushing his body to extremes, freshman Eric Booth hits the final block as he emerges from the water.
Two minutes, 16.80 seconds.
A smile emerges from ear to ear on Booth’s face: the Gannon University freshman swimmer has qualified for the men’s 200-yard backstroke at the PSAC Championship meet, which will take place in February.
“Getting the PSAC times as a freshman is exciting as I can get a good experience/knowledge of the meet down for the rest of my career here at Gannon,” Booth said.
Not only did he qualify for the 200 backstroke, but he also qualified for the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:02.31 in the Grove City meet held on Nov. 19.
A season-high 10 swimmers achieved the PSAC qualifying times at this particular meet. However, the Gannon men’s swim team struggled in head-to-head competition, falling 200-79 against Case Western Reserve, 168.50-120.5 against Grove City and 165-114 against Rochester.
The team has noticed that the individual performances are improving and building momentum toward the season.
“As a whole, everyone is performing to their potential and I believe will continue to do so for the remainder of the season,” freshman Austin Hancock said.
Joining Booth in hitting the PSAC times were Allan Collins, Michael Weiser and Clark Eason.
Collins qualified for three different PSAC events: the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.55, the 100 backstroke at 54.92 and the 200 backstroke at 2:00.40.
Weiser and Eason both qualified for the same events: the 50 and 100 freestyle. Weiser posted times of 22.18 and 48.65 while Eason recorded marks of 22.51 and 49.99.
These qualifying times come as a result of the constant support and upbeat attitude of the team, which Hancock said has been the biggest highlight of the team.
“Whether it be getting up earlier in the morning for practice or not performing to our satisfaction, everyone keeps the positive energy alive,” he said.
Despite the individual nature of the sport, team members still come together and share a bond like many other team-oriented groups.
“The best part of the team is the team,” Booth said. “Everyone here has their own spot and we are all very unique.
The team is now shifting focus to its upcoming invitational at Wooster, Ohio, this weekend.
According to Hancock, Gannon has hit its midseason rest point and is looking forward to competing this weekend.
“Every day at practice we are pushed to our limits in order to help strengthen us [individually] and better our performances in the pool [as a team],” Hancock said.