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Johns Hopkins Women's Swimming Season Preview

Senior Ariana Waitkavicz.
Oct. 7, 2016

BALTIMORE, MD – The Johns Hopkins women’s swim team is set to open its season on Saturday, October 8 in Washington, DC. Hopkins will take on host Georgetown and William & Mary in a tri-meet at the Albert G. McCarthy, Jr. Pool. Here’s a quick look at the 2016-17 Blue Jays.

For the first time since 1985, there is a new head coach of the Johns Hopkins women’s swimming program. Scott Armstrong, a 2003 graduate of the University and member of the Johns Hopkins Athletic Hall of Fame, takes over for long-time head coach George Kennedy. An 18-time All-American under Kennedy, Armstrong returns to his alma mater in the midst of arguably the greatest era of Johns Hopkins women’s swimming. The Blue Jays have placed in the top-five at the NCAA Championships in each of the last four years, with a program-best third-place finish in 2014.

Armstrong credits his assistant coach, Nick Charriez, for his help in the transition this fall. His knowledge of swimming is well beyond his years and Armstrong is excited for what the future holds for Charriez and the Blue Jays.

Armstrong has three great senior captains in Abby Brown, Kristen Kaiser and Ariana Waitkavicz. Brown has gone to NCAAAs in each of her three years and had grabbed All-America honors five times. A butterflier, she has posted five of the top 10 fastest times in program history in the 200. Kaiser competes in the distance events as well as the backstroke and set career best times in the 1000 Free, 1650 Free and 200 Back last season. Waitkavicz also specializes in the backstroke and turned in her best times in the event at the 2014 Bluegrass Mountain Conference Championship.



Johns Hopkins returns all of its points from last year’s NCAA Championship squad that placed fifth with 188 points. This group is highlighted by a strong junior class that combined for 25 of the Blue Jays’ 30 total All-America honors. Anna Wisniewski swims the free (sprints), fly, back and individual medley. She took home second place in the 100 Fly at NCAAs, in addition to earning six All-America honors. She owns the three fastest times in school history in the 200 IM as well as the second fastest in the 400 IM.

Gwynnie LaMastra and Kaitlin Jones have dominated the breast since they arrived on campus and the pair combined to earn 14 All-America honors at last year’s NCAA Championship. LaMastra holds the school record in both the 100 and 200. Jones is hot on her heels in both events, claiming the second fastest times in program history in both events. She also boasts the fourth fastest time in the 200 IM, as well as three of the top 10 in the 400 IM.

Courtney Cowan swims the distance events and as a freshman broke the 13-year-old school mark in the 500 Free. She took home All-America honors in four events last season, including a 10th-place finish in the 200 Free. Sprinter Lena Bless competed with the 400 Medley Relay at last year’s championship and helped the team to a seventh place finish.

In addition to Brown, senior Shirley Chan and sophomore Emily Cheng also scored at the 2016 NCAA Championships. Chan All-America honors in three events and broke the school record, previously held by Brown, in the 200 Fly. Cheng, who specializes in the 200 Free, anchored the 800 Free Relay team that finished in sixth place and posted the 10th fastest time in program history.

Johns Hopkins welcomes 10 newcomers this year, highlighted by freshmen Kristen Peterson, Claire State, Michelle Wang and Caroline Ward. Peterson and Ward compete in the free, Wang in the back and State in the individual medley. Armstrong is really excited about the potential of the freshmen class and is looking forward to what they can do this season in the pool.