December 2, 2008

Red Focused on Ivy Championships

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Most people think of swimming as an individual sport. It’s just one person standing on the blocks, waiting for the gun to go off, waiting to hit the water and make that perfect streamline, trying to be slick and agile as they thrust the water behind them.
But as much as swimming is about personal bests, winning by yourself and gaining recognition, it’s all towards winning for the sake of the team. Every swim counts, whether you are first or fifth, and so no matter if you’re the star athlete or not, you have to perform if you want the team to win.
“Swimming is often such an individual sport, but we are really trying to move towards a team effort and working together to win more meets,” sophomore Christina DiMaria said.
The women’s swimming and diving team has not had great success in the past decade. During the regular season the team has failed to win more than one meet since the 1997-98 season. But, every season gives another chance and this young team has a lot of potential to break the long losing streak.
“Last season we focused a lot on the dual meets, but I think this time around we are really trying to focus on bringing every swimmer into good shape going into Ivy championships,” DiMaria said.
This is a team of only two seniors, a handful of juniors and a huge number of underclassmen. If anything, it is the underclassmen who are outshining any of the extremely experienced members of the team, and are the driving force behind the Red this year.
“The huge sophomore class is really contributing to getting the freshmen into college swimming and being there to help them grow and swim fast,” said sophomore Kathleen Hohwald. “But the key is for everyone to simply put out their personal best, no matter upperclassmen or lower classmen.”
The strategy for women’s aquatics this year is to move into the end of the season championships as strong as ever. If anything, the season is just a warmup for that tournament, and getting hot at just the right time may give the team a legitimate shot at putting on a solid showing at Ivy Championships.
“We are definitely focusing on the meets with our Ivy rivals to post good personal times, but the real goal is to [swim] well going into the end of the year Ivy tournament, and place well there,” Hohwald said.
This is a team in construction, and by looking at the roster, the recruiting classes seem to continue to get stronger. This may not be the year, but the team’s breakout is bound to happen as the talent in the water reaches critical mass. Though it may be another tough year, spirits are high and every team member is working towards something.
“I think you’re going to swim what you’re going to swim, no matter how fast everyone else is, if anything the competition inspires me to practice harder to get that fast,” Hohwald said.
In last weekend’s losses, there was a solid showing by underclassmen, with 13 top-5 finishes. The key for the team this year will be continuing to finish in the top-5, hoping to rack up enough points for a victory. Though the team may not be the strongest in the Ivy League at the moment, it has great potential to pick up speed as the season goes on.