With athletes representing 12 countries this year, the University of Indianapolis men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have changed their training to have a more successful season. The teams took on Bellarmine University, Lewis University and McKendree University in a four-way meet on Nov. 4-5.
Prior to the four-way matchup, Head Swimming and Diving Coach Jason Hite pointed out that swimming is different from other sports. In swimming, he said, every team goes to the conference championship. It is just a matter of whether or not an individual or team will place at conference. Because of this, the athletes swim tired for a large selection of their meets and then rest for the more significant meets: House of Champions, Great Lakes Valley Conference Championships and Nationals.
“It is basically our last chance to see where we are before House of Champs,” Hite said. “So what I see is going to determine a lot of how we’re going to train the last two weeks [and] how we’re going to rest the last two weeks for House of Champs. I want to make sure we’re a little fresher, but not too fresh, and that we’re really cleaning up the little mistakes. I want to see how we perform. How we perform is really going to tell me a lot…. As far as winning and losing, I don’t really care. It’s nice to win meets, especially when we’re at home … but that’s not the first focus that we have. It’s getting out and racing and competing and making sure we’re cleaning up the little things, so we are ready to go for House of Champs.”
Junior Malvina Shoukri expected the teams to drop times this weekend, and hopefully make B and A cut times for Nationals.
Friday night, the teams won all but two out of the 20 events, sweeping all three of their opponents.
Shoukri totaled four wins for the Greyhounds, contributing to both the 400 relay and the 200 IM, along with individual wins in the 50 and 100 free sprint races. Freshman Danielle Woods also picked up wins from the women’s team in the 200 back stroke and 1000 freestyle.
For the men, sophomore Vitor Botana totaled 3 wins in the 200 and 1000 freestyle, as well participating in the in the winning 400 freestyle relay win. Sophomore George Oancea also brought home two wins for the Greyhounds in the 200 IM as well as the 200 breaststroke.
Moving into Saturday, the teams celebrated their seniors Bucky Coonradt, Sarah Hamilton, Megan Giambastini, Romano Hoffman, Torie Pena. Shelby Sexton, Agnieszka Malecka, Bartosz Zarzecki and Marijn Zundert. Five seniors contributed to the 18 out of 20 wins on the day.
Malecka took home a win in the 100 and 400 IM, while Zarzecki won the 100 breaststroke, the 400 medley relay with Coonradt, as well as contributing to the 200 free relay.
The Hounds won all four relays—the 400 medley for both men and women and the 200 free for both as well.
After the first five matches of the season, the women are 1-4, but Shoukri still believes the team is doing well.
“We’re doing so much better than last year, even though we haven’t won as much,” Shoukri said. “The teams that we’re against are so much harder than last year, and they’re better-ranked than us. So being close to them is really, really good.”
On the men’s side, the team has won five of it’s first six face-offs.
“Well I think this year we have a really good start,” said Botana. “We won a couple of meets, and we won a really hard meet [against Lindenwood, and] we didn’t expect that. So it’s good for us, [and] we feel confident about our start.”
On the diving side, both the men and women are stronger this year because of the addition of new athletes, according to Hite.
Currently, Hite’s main concern is House of Champions, which will take place at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Nov. 18-20.
“Ultimately, our goal [right now] is House of Champs,” Hite said. “That’s where we rest, and we suit up…. We’ll wear some faster suits. And we rest, whereas all of the other meets we swim tired. We pound away and grind away, and we have workouts on the days of all of our other meets, whereas this other one we rest a little bit more. We come down in yardage, we come up in speed, and we mentally are a little more on point for this meet.”
This season, Hite has specific goals for the men’s and women’s teams. On the men’s side, he hopes for them to finish in the top 10. Two years ago, they were 32nd, and last season 15th. As for the women, Hite hopes to send a group of women to Nationals and finish in the top 20-25.
Shoukri pointed the team’s success to the strength and conditioning the athletes have done this season, and Hite agrees.
“Coach Chris [Massaro] rocks,” he said. “He’s got a more dynamic routine and program that our kids are doing, so we’re physically stronger. Chris has been incredible, and I can’t thank him enough for what he’s doing for our group. It’s made a big difference for us.”
The Hounds will travel downtown to IUPUI to compete in the House of Champions Nov. 18-20. This will be the teams’ last meet until January 2017.