Where do you start when building a brand new college athletic program?
“I started grassroots by sending letters to every high school… telling them that they had the opportunity to be a part of a team over here that we’re just starting,” said University of St. Joseph’s swim team coach, Brenda Straker.
Her recruiting efforts doubled as USJ introduced their first ever male class, and with it, the chance to add a men’s swim team to the women’s swim and dive squad.
“I’ve never started a team from scratch,” said Straker. “It’s quite daunting.”
So she asked high school swimmers like Jacob Wyse of Windsor to take a leap of faith.
“I think I told him that we could do great things here and he’d be a pioneer,” said Straker. “He’s be the start of something great.”
It wasn’t long before Wyse was on board.
“I looked into it and I came and I toured and I was kind of hooked right after that,’ said Wyse, who is a standout freshman swimmer for the Blue Jays.
After all, Straker did have something big on her side: a chance to make history, illustrated perfectly by an empty men’s swim team record board hanging in the pool.
“We’re hoping to get everyone’s names up there,” said freshman Brendan Lynch.
“It’s a step in a new director for St. Joe’s and I think it’s a good one,” added Wyse.
So far, with a lot of leadership help form the women’s team, the Blue Jays are undefeated in their dual meet season.