After an amazing finish to the 2016-17 season at the AUS Championships hosted by UPEI, where the Axemen finished second in the team standings, while the Axewomen finished a close third, the Acadia swim team is hoping for better results this season.
With only a few losses to graduation last season and an incredible recruiting year under their belt, the team is ready to challenge for top spot in the AUS. The recruiting season landed an unprecedented 14 new recruits, who will join an already strong team from last season. Eight new Axemen and six new Axewomen will bolster the roster.
Gary MacDonald, who heads into his third season at the helm, hopes several new additions will make an immediate impact including Guy Harrison-Murray (Australia - freestyle specialist), Josh Nowlan (Ontario - distance freestyle) and Benito Di Nizio (Ontario – mid distance freestyle and backstroke).
"The core of our returning swimmers are anxious to strut their stuff this season. Returning swimmers who should shine include Brett Liem, Adam Deutsch, Ben Henger, Brendan Vibert and Chris Johnson on the men's side. On the women's side we have returning senior Ali MacEachern, plus Nicole Windsor and Hannah Doiron. All are looking to have banner years," said MacDonald.
The Axemen will have a full squad of 18 swimmers this season and could challenge for the team title this season. The women's squad will also fair well, but just a bit shy this season in depth to be able to challenge perennial champions Dalhousie.
"The overall team atmosphere is as good, with everyone wanting to contribute to our success this year," said MacDonald, who has a positive outlook this season and hopes to challenge for top honours in the AUS this season.
"With the guys team looking so strong obviously the goal this season will be to win our first championships. We will also be looking to double our national representation at the U-Sport Championships in Toronto. We hope to have 6-8 qualifiers," noted MacDonald.
"It should be a very inspirational and exciting season. The team also plans on heading south to Ft Lauderdale to do a team training camp for 9 days just after X-mas," added MacDonald.
The team opens the AUS swim season on the road in New Brunswick October 14-15 at the Amby Legere Invitational hosted by UNB. The team will then return home to host the Jack Scholz Memorial Invitational at Acadia on October 28-29.