setting the stage
Head coach Erin Cammann and the Warriors were looking to improve even more on last year’s unprecedented success in her second year with the Warriors and the program’s fourth year. After bringing back a core group of nine swimmers, coach Cammann doubled the roster size by adding 11 rookies to the team, the largest recruiting class in program history.
Led by senior captains Sydney Frerichs and Coral Robinson, who have been with the team since its inception, and a talented and experienced junior class highlighted by captain Ireland Wilson, the Warriors were poised to have another successful year. The Warriors faced a seven-meet slate, opening with the New England Catholic Invitational at Boston College on October 14-15, and concluding with the NE10 Championships on February 16-19 at Southern Connecticut State.
The first meet of the season at the New England Catholic Invitational on October 14-15 saw the Warriors thrive in their season-opening meet. Merrimack began 2016-17 in impressive fashion as the team broke seven school records and saw many quality performances from the largest recruiting class in program history in its first meet. Of the seven records broken, six were individual records set by three rookies. Freshman Alison Canjura would burst onto the scene with three school records of her own in her first-career meet, coming in the 200IM (2:19.62), 1000m Free (11:30.76), and an impressive eighth-place finish in the 400 IM (4:52.42).
Fellow rookie Taylor Galusha grabbed two school records of her own in the 100m (4:52.42) and in the 200m breaststroke (2:44.07). The rookie record came from Lucia Quesada Nylen in the 100m Butterfly (1:06.68). The seventh school record of the day set was in the 400m medley relay with Canjura and Galusha being joined by freshman Andrea Taylor and sophomore Samantha Towle to post a time of (4:22.62).
The second multi-day invitational the Warriors would compete in in the 2016-17 season was the WPI Gompei Invitational in Worcester, Massachusetts from December 2-4, a meet Merrimack has competed in over the last few seasons. The Warriors saw some strong performances by a number of swimmers at the 13-team meet, with the new rookies class as well as veterans contributing.
Canjura continued the impressive start to her career by posting two top-10 finishes at the event to put points towards Merrimack's team score. Sophomores Towle and Maeve McGowan would contribute for the Warriors as Towle would lock in two top-20 performances, while McGowan added a 23rd and 26th-place finish.
Taylor and fellow freshman Caroline Ells also added to the Warriors' 13th-place finish, with Ells posting three top-30 finishes, and Taylor registering a 15th-place finish in the 100 backstroke.
dueling it out
Still looking for the program's first dual-meet victory but refusing to face lower competition to achieve it, the Warriors faced a hefty schedule of five dual meets in the 2016-17 season, starting in November with meets at Saint Michael’s and Siena. The Warriors went into the meets looking to continue on the impressive start to the season. Merrimack competed well at both meets, garnering a handful of first-place finishes and key performances. The Navy and Gold would keep it very close in both meets, especially at Saint Michael's, but ultimately fell in the pair of dual meets in November, including by a narrow margin at Saint Michael's of just 129-94.
The Warriors picked back up with their dual meet schedule in the first month of 2017 with back-to-back meets against Brandeis and the University of New England on January 20 and 21. Andrea Taylor led the Warriors on the weekend with three first-place finishes across the two meets. The dual meet schedule concluded the following weekend with a meet at Bentley, which was headlined by two first-place finishes for the Warriors from rookies Caroline Ells and Alison Canjura.
rewriting the record book at ne10's
The Warriors concluded their 2016-17 campaign at the NE10 Championships hosted by Southern Connecticut State on February 16-17. Merrimack shined at the conference championships meet and final meet of the season, as they would break a staggering 10 school records on their way to an eighth-place finish. Canjura closed out her rookie season just how she started it off, posting the top finish for Merrimack with a fifth-place nod in the 400 IM with a school record time of 4:41.41.
Classmate Andrea Taylor would notch two school records of her own at the conference championships, doing so in the 100 and 200 backstroke (1:00.04, 2:10.04). Samantha Towle would also post two new school records in the 100 free (54.48) and the 200 free (1:59.73), while Canjura, Taylor and Towle would be joined by Caroline Ells to post a ninth-place finish in the 400 medley relay at a time of 4:12.55 to break the previous school record by five seconds.
Another rookie in Lucia Quesada Nylen set two individual records as well, doing so in the 50 (29.61) and 100 butterfly (1:03.46). She would also be joined by Ells, Taylor and Towle to break the 200 free relay record (1:42.66). Then Taylor was switched out for Canjura for the 400 free relay team, which also set a new school record at 3:42.93.
Senior captains Sydney Frerichs and Coral Robinson would each swim in their last meet for the Warriors at the NE10 Championships. Robinson would swim in the 50yd freestyle (33.39) and the 100yd freestyle (1:11.84), while Frerichs swam the 200yd backstroke (2:37.18), 100yd backstroke (1:11.35), and 50yd freestyle (29.58), while also racing with a trio of Warrior relay teams.