Sarah Kay, Cape Town, South Africa, a Marshall standout in the 200-yard Butterfly, will arrive this fall for her junior year debut. Kay said she is excited about the changes of new coaches and mind-set they bring to the team.
“The environment around the pool is extremely professional,” Kay said. “We are being treated like a big school’s Division I swim program.”
New coach Bill Tramel accepted the position as head coach at Marshall after two decades of NCAA Division I program involvement, including coaching the 2011-12 Minnesota Golden Gopher women to a Big Ten Conference title and 11th place NCAA Championships finish.
By adapting a similar attitude and with the guidance of Coach Tramel and his staff, Kay said she believes this year the team will be more prepared for the West Virginia Games than ever before.
“The training platform that has been provided, the intensity in which we are being made to train, and the new technique coaching we have been given will all be evident at these games.
Throughout the two-day event, Marshall will compete against Fairmont State, Davis and Elkins, West Virginia Wesleyan, Wheeling Jesuit, and last year’s event champion, West Virginia University. As the West Virginia Games rapidly approach, Sophomore Kacey Preun, Manitoba, Canada, said she also believes her team is well prepared for its first races of the season.
“Since we arrived at school we have been working hard on all of our different strokes, technique on the strokes, breathing patterns, our turns and streamline off the walls,” Preun said. “All of these are going to benefit us when it comes to racing because every little thing counts.”
The team works on other aspects of competition aside of a technical standpoint. Preun, who holds several top 10 all-time Marshall performance records, said Coach Tramel has set high expectations for his team when it comes to efforts and attitudes.
“As individuals I think he really wants us to fight for it when were in the pool; to not be afraid to race and give it all we've got.”
Last year the Herd captured a second place win at the West Virginia Games in Morgantown behind host West Virginia University. Junior Victoria Mesner, Roanoke, Va., said that she thinks getting a chance to compete this event in their own pool this year will give them the upper hand.
“No one likes to lose in front of their friends and family,” Mesner said. “With that being said, we definitely have the added advantage of being home and having our fans; it’s nice to stay in our own beds and stick with our normal routines and be fresh.”
Mesner said her and her teammates are anxious to get in the pool for the first time as a new group. Fans can show their support at this year’s event in the Frederick A. Fitch Natatorium located in the Cam Henderson Center on the Marshall University campus Oct. 12-13. The first race will begin Friday afternoon at four.