Swimming earns win against GVSU on road to nationals

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Junior David Salmon competes in the 400 medley relay. Photo by Cassie Reverman

Junior David Salmon competes in the 400 medley relay. Photo by Cassie Reverman

In a meet against Grand Valley State University, the University of Indianapolis swimming and diving team took an extra focus on speed and form to prepare for the National Championships, according to Head Swimming and Diving Coach Jason Hite.

The team hosted Senior Day during the meet, recognizing captains senior Alexis Dobrzynski and senior Malvina Shourki along with senior Christina Vosko, senior Laura Bem and junior Bryanna Nixon for their years on the team. Among the other events on the day swim and dive team accepted a $100,000 donation from local barber Tom Bryant who swims on campus every morning. Bryant grew up in the area, and went to elementary school where Cristel DeHaan is now.  Hite said that he and the team were very thankful for the gift from someone from the campus community.

“Tom [Bryant] attributes his longevity to swimming that gift wasn’t anything we did, but it was how he was treated by UIndy, and that played a big part in it.”

The team plans to use the money for things that will make them more successful such as helping their facilities become better. According to Hite, this is a very important gift that will help the program grow.

The Greyhounds won nine of 14 events in swimming against GVSU on Jan. 20. Junior Rodrigo Codo Berti took part in multiple event for the Hounds and took home two wins.

Among other wins, divers sophomore Josh Zylstra and sophomore Payton Staman won first and second, respectively in the 3 meter. On the women’s side, sophomore Sotia Neophytou took the win in the 100 meter followed by Shoukri with a win in the 50 meter. The win granted the team standings seventh and the men ranked sixth.

Back in November, the team competed in the House of Champions meet where Berti and Guilherme Zavaneli both received their cuts for the National Championships. For the third time since he started his swimming career as a Greyhound, Berti was recently nominated as GLVC Athlete of the Week.

“Being nominated for Athlete of the Week helps keep me on track, Berti said. “It gives me more excitement to keep going and see what’s going to happen at nationals.”

Junior Stefanie Haholiades qualified for nationals last year with a relay team, but wants to qualify in her two best events, the 50 free and 100 free.

“The mental aspect my freshman year was really bad and the physical aspect was good. Because my mental aspect wasn’t in it’s best, it resulted in not swimming as fast,” said Haholiades.

With the season coming to an end, the Hounds are putting their focus on nationals in order for the members of the team to qualify. Berti, who attended nationals last year, said that he is preparing for his trip this year.

“I’m going to swim 100 percent at nationals because I’ll be well rested and good things are going to come for me and the team,” said Berti.

Hite said that he attributes the success of the program to the members of the team and how the recruiting process has changed throughout the years.

“Our team has gone from not scoring at nationals to being a top 10 team in the last two to three years,” Hite said. “We’ve recruited a little differently and we’ve moved forward. Our preparation hasn’t been any different, just a better team and faster people.”

Before nationals, the Hounds will have to get through the GLVC tournament on Feb. 9 and 10. As the team prepares for conference and nationals, Hite asks for a lot of dedication from his team.

“The grind of swimming is tough. Every sport is difficult and every sport has its challenges. Ours is sometimes the early morning on a regular basis,” Hite said. “We try to keep the training exciting, we try to keep it fresh as much as we can with getting done what we need to get done.”

Hite, who is on his third season coaching the team, said his goal is to continue working on making it a national championship program. As he works with the team on their progress, he is also focused on recruiting talented, hard working people who will only aid to the success of the program.

“The expectation level and the bar at which I’ve set is just higher and I’m not willing to give scholarships to people unless they can score nationally,” Hite said. “Therefore I’m just not going to bring in people who aren’t going to be a positive contributor to the team.”

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