New Year, New Team: NAIA’s Lindsey Wilson College

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Photo Courtesy: Lileana Pearson

By Tori Caudill, Swimming World College Intern

New year. New team.

At Lindsey Wilson College, this manta is reiterated at the end and beginning of every season by Head Coach Alicia Kemnitz. Each year is a chance to be better, and build on last year’s accomplishments.

Last year, the team made a name for themselves at NAIA Nationals in March. Along with posting five new school records, Lindsey Wilson also had their first top-three finisher, Laura Stephenson. Stephenson finished fifth in the 100 yard butterfly, and went on to place third in the 200 butterfly. She remains the only woman from Lindsey Wilson to place in the top eight at Nationals.

Courtesy of: Lindsey Wilson Athletics

Courtesy of: Lindsey Wilson Athletics

However, like any good coach, Kemnitz is never satisfied.

“Nationally, I would love to see the men crack the top 10 again, but this isn’t going to be an easy task,” Kemnitz stated. “NAIA swimming keeps getting faster, so they are going to have to fight to make that happen.”

While the team consists of a good amount of juniors and seniors, a majority of the team is comprised of returning sophomores, and 13 freshman. Kemnitz is optimistic, not only about the talent brought in with the underclassmen, but also with the growth in the program reflected in amount of seniors.

“In past years, we’ve had maybe one or two upperclassmen total,” she explained. “So I’m happy that the team is starting to look more balanced.” Kemnitz is relying heavily on her upperclassmen to prepare the first-year members of the team for the grueling practices ahead, along with keeping up the positive reputation the team has build over the past few years.

Technical Tweaks

Along with changes in the team make-up, the coaching staff has been brainstorming new techniques and practice plans to help better the team this season in comparison to last year.

By placing more emphasis on underwater work off of the walls, and stroke count, especially for distance swimmers, Kemnitz is hoping to add in a balance of change, and a fresh outlook for some of the more experienced swimmers.

Along with technical in-water work, Kemnitz and Assistant Coach Wallace Senter are hoping to add video surveillance of both meets and practices in order to help swimmers really see what needs to be changed in their technique. Kemnitz sees this as an invaluable tool that will contribute to the success of her swimmers this upcoming season.

Raring to Compete

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With all of the new talent and changes in training, Kemnitz is excited to see how Lindsey will fare against two particular teams on their schedule.

“Historically, we have always been excited to swim against Asbury. In dual meets, their swimmers are typically good opponents for us.”

Within the conference, Kemnitz is excited to face the monstrous new team put together by Coach Mandy Chun at Lindenwood. Kemnitz and her team will face Lindenwood in their first home meet of the season.

“I expect many of her swimmers to challenge our athletes,” she said. “It should make for an exciting meet.”

Well Rounded Raiders

Even outside of the pool, Kemnitz has set the bar high for her athletes. She will be putting a lot of stress on the team to help improve their GPAs and also in the team service commitment to the NAIA Live 5 initiative.

Kemnitz has placed a heavier emphasis on charity this year. Outside of the annual school-wide day of service to take place September, she has added some new events of her own.

“I’m excited to be teaming up with Campbellsville University Swimming on two events to raise money for cancer research,” she said.

The first event, at Campbellsville, is a dance-a-thon, allowing the students to raise money for children’s cancer in a night of intersquad bonding, outside of the pool. The second, the “Hour of Power” will be hosted by Lindsey Wilson College, and will be an hour-long relay race between the two teams, again raising money for cancer research.

Kemnitz and her Blue Raiders are ready to build upon their past successes and start afresh this season with new goals and a new team.