Tracy Swietoniowski brings a deep passion for the sport and an extensive and varied instructional background to her new role as the coach for the Cayuga Community College Women's Lacrosse Team.
A Cayuga alum and adjunct professor at the College, Swietoniowski and assistant coach Ciara Tallman are leading the inaugural Spartans women's lacrosse program, which was scheduled to begin competition in the Spring 2020 semester. The National Junior College Athletic Association ultimately cancelled spring sports due to the coronavirus before the Spartans had their first contest.
"We're certainly disappointed that the season was cancelled. Our team had worked hard to prepare, but we know that the decision was made with the students' and coaches' health and safety in mind. We'll keep working as we best we can, and we'll be ready for next season," said Swietoniowski.
Along with teaching business and fitness courses at Cayuga, Swietoniowski runs a wellness center in Skaneateles. It was at her business where she started training lacrosse players and worked with a local school district on fitness programs to prepare players for the season.
That initial connection grew to working with the Auburn High School girls lacrosse program, then coaching modified lacrosse before moving up to help coach varsity and developing workout programs and skill development sessions.
When the chance came to lead the Spartans in their inaugural season, she couldn't say no.
"This was a great opportunity to coach college athletes, and to be in a position at the ground level and help this program get started and grow," said Swietoniowski. "I've had a lot of help, especially from Ciara. She's been the best assistant coach I could have asked for. She's constantly working to make the program successful."
The coaches hit the ground running, securing a solid roster of 17 players despite having a late start to the recruiting season. Swietoniowski said the team had grown immensely during spring practices.
"We have some players who don't have a ton of experience, but all of them were working hard and were dedicated to learning something new. Some of our other players who have competed before took on leadership roles and did all the right things trying to motivate and keep everyone positive as they built their skills," said Swietoniowski.
Since the cancellation of the spring 2020 athletics seasons due to the coronavirus, Swietoniowski has been encouraging the team to work on their individual skills at home.
She's also using GroupMe to text the entire team to encourage them to keep working and stay safe.
"It's important that we stay in contact with our student-athletes, and that they understand that even while the season is cancelled, the coaches are still here for them," said Swietoniowski. "We encourage them to stay dedicated to the game and develop their skills, but we're also checking to make sure they have the academic support they need to succeed."