Women’s swimming seeks to build core team


John Bell

Guilford College women’s swimming team junior Carolyn O’Halloran races at the 2017 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Swimming Championships.//Photo by: John Bell/Touch A Life Photography

The Guilford College women’s swimming team has started off with two meets that have both resulted in losses. Another meet at Hampden-Sydney College was cancelled when a power outage happened.

“Our first meet got cancelled because a truck hit a light pole or something and then knocked out power for the building,” said head coach Brad Herndon. “But we drove two hours to an Applebee’s and had a good lunch.”

This is Herndon’s first season as head coach. Herndon has been the Director of Swimming at the YMCA of Greensboro since 2011.

“The only thing is I came in kind of late so next year we’re setting up the schedule a little bit better,” Herndon said. “(Not) have as much overlap and give these kids two practices a day, give them a little options and swim time.”

He also has coached Guilford junior swimmer Carolyn O’Halloran.

“My confidence has never been higher and I’ve been with (Herndon) for years now,” said O’Halloran. “I just love the attitude he gives and the passion, it’s hard work but he makes it fun which makes me love swimming again.”

In the meet against Sweet Briar College, Guilford lost 89-73 but picked up some wins and experience. O’Halloran won the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly. Sophomore Audrey Helfeinbein won the 100 freestyle in 1:19.89 and first-year Rebecca Shenhouse won the 100 breatstroke in 1:33.48. Sophomore Courtney Packer won the 200 freestyle but had no registered time due to a computer glitch.

“We won most of the events in the meet but we had a lot of girls swim in exhibition,” said Herndon. “They were only allowed three events and swam five.”

With a team only eight, each swimmer has had to compete in up to five races at each meet. Although they can compete in five races at each meet, only three can count for the scoring and the rest are just exhibitions.

“I think it’s a good advantage for the girls,” said Herndon. “If you’re investing this much time into the sport you want to be able to swim your best events and be able to swim a maximum events.”

At the Old Dominion Conference Relays that started the season, the Quakers finished in 12th place. The trio of O’Halloran, Packer and Shenhouse picked up four points in the 3×50-yard breastroke.

“We’ve all been improving, as a whole and finding the strokes that fit for us,” said O’Halloran. “We’ve all been pushing ourselves to our limits, there will be good days, there will be bad and we’ve all become closer as a team.”

On Nov. 17 the team competes in the Greensboro College Invitational at Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, North Carolina.