By Kaileigh Krupp, '18
On Sept. 16, the Albion College will send several swimmers to the College Swimming Coaches Association of America's (CSCAA) Open Water Championship at Lone Star Lake near Lawrence, Kan. Five men, including captain Kyle Harvey, All-American and Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association butterfly champion Nate Kozycki, 2016 CSCAA Division III top male competitor Mac Robertson, Chris Breen, and Ian Moran, will represent the Britons. New this year will be the three women representatives, including captain Katie Ferrero, Camila Manrique, and Megan Harvey.
Three men – Harvey, Robertson, and Sebastian Tostado, '17 – represented Albion at the meet last year. With a larger representation, Coach Jake Taber hopes Albion will finish amongst the D-III leaders.
Taber says the size of the field has almost doubled in participants, but this hasn't scared off any of the swimmers competing for the first time.
"Last year, the guys that went had a great experience," Taber, who is set to begin his sixth season as Albion's head coach, said. "Some of the guys that didn't go heard about it, and wanted to be a part of it. It's a very different race and it takes a lot of prep work on the front end that lies completely on the athlete."
Albion's men won the MIAA championship for the first time since 1971 last February, and Taber is anxious to find if the athletes have improved over the summer. Robertson and Kyle Harvey have the experience from last year to lean on, but the other swimmers haven't competed in the Open Water Championships before.
That doesn't mean the Britons have not been serious about their training. Many of the swimmers competed in the Motor City Mile in July on Belle Isle. The event features three races of various lengths, 5k, one mile and half mile.
"Swimming open water versus in a pool are completely different," Ferrero said. "The feel of the water in a lake is different because of waves and currents, usually you don't know exactly how far you've gone, and you have to keep spotting to make sure you're heading in the right direction. Doing an open water race this summer and spending time swimming at the lake on Labor Day weekend were fun and necessary steps to take to make sure I'll be ready in Kansas."
While the prep work for the open water swim was vigorous for the athletes, Taber has complete confidence in his athletes.
"I am very proud of our distance program and we are one of the few D-III teams nationwide that continues to be represented at the CSCAA," Taber said. "I want this to be an experience that the athletes can look back on for years to come. This is a unique race and this is something that we can do to enhance student athlete experience is one of the things that makes Albion College great."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kaileigh Krupp, a senior at Albion, is an exercise science major from Mason, Mich.
Get more information on the team by following @AlbionSwimming on Twitter. General athletics news can be found @gobrits on Twitter and by following Albion College Athletics on Facebook