Amid all of the changes and postponements surrounding college and high school athletics impacting the 2020-2021 school year, the St. Mary’s College of Maryland swim team will have a new conference to call home when the dual meets begin.
St. Mary’s College, which is currently a member of the Capital Athletic Conference, has joined the Atlantic East Conference for the upcoming winter swim season. The Seahawks men’s and women’s swimming teams will join other schools such as Cabrini University, Cedar Crest College, Gallaudet University, Immaculata University, Marymount University and Marywood University in the AEC this winter.
St. Mary’s College swim coach Casey Brandt and two female swimmers on the squad that hail from St. Mary’s County, junior Leila McCloskey and senior Brenna Litynski all expressed their eagerness to be part of the AEC when the 2020-21 season finally gets under way.
“Moving from the CAC to the AEC allows us to race against different teams that are similar in size and gives us an opportunity to show our presence,” said McCloskey, a Leonardtown High School graduate who is majoring in economics at SMCM. “My goal as a junior is to continue improving and to contribute to the success of the Seahawks’ swim team.”
“As a team, we are very grateful to have a conference to call home after our previous conference ended,” Litynski said. “The team is super excited to be able to compete against more teams that are more closely matched to ours across the board. The new conference is a great opportunity for my teammates. I can’t wait for everyone to be able to showcase their talent and hard work as part of the new conference.”
Both Brandt, along with SMCM director of athletics and recreation, Crystal Gibson, seemed pleased with the conference change. Brandt, who is heading into his fifth season at the helm of the Seahawks swim team, saw 16 SMCM swimmers attain All-CAC honors and now will lead the group into the AEC for the 2020-2021 slate.
“We are really happy our men’s and women’s swimming teams were able to find a home with the AEC,” Brandt said in a release. “I’m excited to work with the excellent group of coaches there and look forward to the time we can compete as well.”
“The Atlantic East Conference presented an excellent opportunity for our men’s and women’s swimming programs to challenge themselves by growing and competing at a tremendously high level,” Gibson said in a release. “The St. Mary’s College of Maryland athletic department is committed to providing a high-quality student-athlete and this partnership with the AEC exemplifies this change.”