Young talent to lead CSUB this season

Freshman+Darya+Samiee+swims+in+the+200-yard+butterfly+against+Grand+Canyon+at+Hillman+Aquatics+Complex+on+Oct.+10.+%0APhoto+by+Bre+Williams%2FThe+Runner
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Young talent to lead CSUB this season

Freshman Darya Samiee swims in the 200-yard butterfly against Grand Canyon at Hillman Aquatics Complex on Oct. 10. 
Photo by Bre Williams/The Runner

Freshman Darya Samiee swims in the 200-yard butterfly against Grand Canyon at Hillman Aquatics Complex on Oct. 10. Photo by Bre Williams/The Runner

Freshman Darya Samiee swims in the 200-yard butterfly against Grand Canyon at Hillman Aquatics Complex on Oct. 10. Photo by Bre Williams/The Runner

Freshman Darya Samiee swims in the 200-yard butterfly against Grand Canyon at Hillman Aquatics Complex on Oct. 10. Photo by Bre Williams/The Runner

Nick Fequiere

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The CSU Bakersfield men’s and women’s swim teams began their season on Saturday against Grand Canyon University at Hillman Aquatic Center.

Director of Swimming Chris Hansen will guide the program for the fifth straight season.

Hansen likes the chances for both programs this season, noting that “this is probably the best men’s team [they’ve] had, depth wise, in a very long time.”

He mentions that they have 12 newcomers on the men’s side that all bring something to the table. Hansen also added that there are some challenges inherent in facing conference opponents such as University of Nevada Las Vegas and GCU, whose programs are fully funded.

However, he’s confident that this year’s group has the potential to break through and make a name for itself among the top teams in the conference. While the men’s team will have to endure the departure of many talented and seasoned veterans like Mitchell Huxhold, they will look to develop and rely upon budding superstars like Owen Van Krimpen, who verbally committed to CSUB last November.

Van Krimpen, who was born in the Netherlands, spent much of his childhood growing up in the United States, and he eventually made a name for himself as an accomplished middle-distance freestyler.

He is in his first year at CSUB and is majoring in physical therapy. Hansen spoke highly of the new recruit and described Van Krimpen as an athlete with no shortage of potential or confidence.

One returning star on the men’s team is the Croatian-born Lovre Soric. Soric stated that he wants the team to win at the dual meet and place as one of the top three programs in the conference.

Soric noted that one of the team’s weaknesses may also be its greatest strength. Although there are many newcomers with plenty of inexperience, they also bring depth, passion and talent to the team. He feels that those qualities will prove useful in the months ahead.

Hansen asserts that this women’s team boasts the best senior class that he’s ever led. Paola Hernandez, a junior, seemed to echo her coach’s sentiment.

Hernandez said that she sees no real weaknesses in the women’s team this season. Simply put, it’s on them to show up and execute to the best of their ability. She notes that there is strength in numbers, and the team enjoys plenty of depth this season.

One issue that Hernandez did say the team may have to address over the course of the season is the maturation of her younger teammates. For many on the team, this will be their first experience on the collegiate level, and there may be an adjustment period while they become a cohesive unit.

Although both the men’s and women’s teams lost to a strong GCU program on Saturday, Hansen was encouraged by strong performances across the board. Lovre swam his fastest times in both the 200 free and the 200 individual medley.

Hernandez won the 100 free with a time of 52.26, placed second in the 50 free and the 200 individual medley. Hansen and his teams will look to capitalize upon these efforts at the Malibu Invitational at Malibu, Calif. this Friday.