WETHERSFIELD, CONN. - As the weather heats up and plans begin to take shape for most, Seton Hall student-athletes are already in full-swing when it comes to their "off" season activities.
Pirate Postcards are a great way to stay connected with the Pirates through the summer months.
This week's postcard comes to SHUPirates.com from junior men's swimmer Joey Lacus (Wethersfield, Conn.).
In 2011-12, his second year on campus, Lacus emerged as one of the Pirates' key figures in sprint freestyle and relay competition. Building upon a solid freshman campaign during which he recorded two victories and seven top-three finishes, Lacus took a leap forward as a sophomore.
He finished the year with five individual wins and placed in the top-three 11 different times, helping guide the men's squad to a 9-2 head-to-head record for the year. In team victories at Providence (11/5) and at Marist (1/28), Lacus swept the 50 and 100 freestyle events.
In relay competition, Lacus was a part of the team that swam the fastest 200-yard freestyle time for SHU on the year. At the BIG EAST Championship, he swam the first leg for a 400-yard freestyle squad that set a new school record with a time of 3:03.94.
The Wethersfield native also produced personal-best times in the 100-yard freestyle and breaststroke events at the conference championship as well.
Outside the pool, Lacus is extremely active within the SHU Athletics department, pulling double duty as a graphic design intern for the Pirate Blue Athletic Fund while serving as the President of the Pirate Blue Student Club.
With a stellar season in the books and a promising one on the horizon, Joey relayed how he has taking his talents from the pool, to the garden, to the restaurant industry among other activities this summer in the latest Pirate Postcard.
Greetings Pirate Fans from Wethersfield, Connecticut!
Summer is off to a great start in the Constitution State! Some wonderful weather has paved the way for one of my hobbies, gardening, to get off to a great start. I recently ordered a new citrus tree, lime, which now accompanies my lemon and fig trees. Also, my vegetable garden has been planted for about three weeks now. I'm just your regular green-thumb growing the average tomato, squash, and green beans... nothing too crazy. Now the painstaking part of waiting for it all to grow begins.
Outside of working around the house, I work at a seafood restaurant five days a week where I wash dishes as well as take tables, clean, prep, and sometimes even bartend. It's a big change of pace from my desk job at Pirate Blue during the school year, and I love it! It does however create a tight schedule because of my training.
I have been swimming four days a week for my club team, Laurel East Hartford YMCA, which is out of East Hartford, CT. My club coach has been doing a fantastic job of getting me back into shape. We have been focusing a lot on my stroke, refining it, and making it more efficient. I decided early on that I wasn't going to be swimming many meets this summer, just training a great deal and working on technique more. So far it has been paying off and I have a meet coming up next weekend in Springfield, Mass., hopefully we will see a difference in my racing.
My biggest goal for the next year is to qualify for USA Swimming Senior Nationals. The event is held every December in a different location every year. This is the only USA Swimming event that the NCAA allows Division I schools to participate in during the season. Some of the qualifying times are a only tenth off of the Olympic Trial Qualifications. Making that meet would mean a lot, especially to see how much I have grown over the last two years with the help of Coach Farina and his staff, our strength & conditioning coach Angelo Gingerelli and of course, my club coach, Kaeley Stiennagel. Next season is starting later then normal, due to a late scheduling of the BIG EAST Championship at IUPUI, but I am really hoping that the hard work pays off and I post more time drops and lifetime bests.
2012 is a big summer for swimming in general and August can't come soon enough, though, not because of school, but because of the Olympics! I lucked out and was able to see the entire Olympic Village in London when I flew into London Heathrow for a layover during my trip home from Dublin. It looks amazing; the pool looks like a spaceship from the game "Halo," and all the other facilities are remarkable. I hope everyone's eye is fixed on the pool, though!
Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte will be battling it out this year and I'm convinced Lochte will give Phelps a run for his money. Lochte (pictured right with some of my teammates and I) is the most laidback person I have ever met. He came to SHU for a photo-shoot last fall and I was given an opportunity to talk with him and a few teammates. He really is the nice person that everyone makes him out to be. He works out as if he was entered in a strongest man competition and has dedication that no other swimmer can match. I will be pulling for him next week at Olympic Trials and at the Olympics in August, as well as others such as Brendan Hansen (breaststroke events), Eric Shanteau (IM/Breaststroke, missed 2008 Olympics due to cancer), and my favorite Nathan Adrian (Sprint Freestyle).
Phelps will win some gold, who knows, he could pull off another Beijing. Last I heard, Phelps is going strong both in dryland workouts and pool workouts. He has been up in high atltitude trianing, Colorado Springs, for the last three weeks with our former SHU teammate, Kevin Webster. Lochte took Phelps down at Worlds last year but Phelps isn't going down without a fight!
Regardless of what happens, I wish all of the US Olympic Swim Team the best in London! It's going to be an amazing three weeks! They're representing the greatest country in the world, the best swim programs in the world, and are some of the nicest people most will ever get the chance to meet.
Support USA Swimming! Finals for Olympic Trials will be televised live every night on NBC starting next week (June 25-July 2)!
As the Olympics wind down, we will be returning to school and turning our attention to our own season. We have a really nice freshman class coming in, about nine guys last time I heard, all of them with talent. They all should be able to fill in and help the team out immensely come our first meet. I'm looking forward to meeting them, instilling the SHU Swim & Dive DNA, which includes our enthusiasm at our sporting events (especially at men's basketball games...don't worry we will be back!). Big classes always mean more close friends, as if the team wasn't close already, we certainly will be even more. This is one of the reasons I chose Seton Hall, how much of a family we are. It's nice to have time off but I do really miss The Hall, my teammates, and my close friends.
Until then I'm soaking in my home-time, especially seeing my family and getting some great home cooking. GDS serves us well throughout the year, but my grandmother makes a mean Vodka and Bolognese sauce so I've been filling up when I can!
Other than that, I'd just like to wish everyone a fantastic summer! I can't wait to see what the 2012-13 seasons have in store for Seton Hall Athletics!!
While it is more attributable to their dedication in the pool than Joey's agricultural pursuits, the SHU men's and women's swimming & diving programs have planted the seeds for continued success in what is sure to be an exciting 2012-13 season.
Stay tuned to SHUPirates.com for another Pirate Postcard!
Men's Soccer Goalkeeper - June 1
Women's Swimmer - June 8
Volleyball's Shelbey and - June 15
For more information on the Pirate Blue Athletic Fund, click here.