Swimming and diving teams look toward championships
The men's and women's swim teams swept Niagara this past Saturday and look to continue their win streak as they travel to Ohio for a pair of meets. Nick Fischetti /// The Spectrum
The men's and women's swimming and diving team is having success so far this season. That's no small feat, considering the teams' school-best finishes the past two seasons.
Through the first half of the season, the teams can boast wins at Army, a top finish at the Akron Invitational and, most recently, a sweep of Niagara at home.
They recently returned home from Florida, where they were training to prepare for the last half of the season.
Head coach Andy Bashor is pleased with his teams' performances so far, as they have pushed through adversity and younger swimmers are contributing on senior-laden teams.
The women's team lost three scorers from last season's team to injuries, but veteran team members have stepped up their already impressive performances and freshmen have been able to contribute more then they were expected.
"We basically are going to have three of our women redshirting," Bashor said. "Three of those women were point scorers last year at conference. What we have seen is [because] we know we can't depend on them anymore, we are having other people step up. They have been doing a job as a team of stepping up and filling in those holes."
Familiar faces have led the Bulls thus far, as seniors Britney Kuras and Mallory Morrell have paced the women's team and junior Mike Dugan and seniors Matt Schwippert and Cory Zorsch have led the men.
Bashor praised not just their performances in the pool but also their leadership abilities outside of it - using their championship experiences to lead the underclassmen against top-level opponents.
The Bulls still have a significant chunk of their dual-meet schedule remaining, with competitions against Bowling Green, Michigan State, Miami (Ohio), Eastern Michigan and St. Bonaventure.
"We're going up against very good competition," Bashor said. "They need to be focused, they need to have that drive, that motivation each day to get up and race. Especially this weekend when we are swimming ... back-to-back, especially with the length of travel that we have, they are going to have to be physically and mentally tough to pull out victories this weekend."
Bashor hopes that competing against top Mid-American Conference competition during the regular season will make his teams more familiar with the conference's top swimmers, which will contribute to better performances at championships.
"The way we train for our sport, we train all year with the focus on our conference meet and NCAA," Bashor said. "We sacrifice that speed throughout the year to really build up and get these guys as strong as we can and get the volume in so that we can start this second semester and get into the championship phase of our training where we are asking them to go faster and faster."
Bashor is particularly looking forward to the Eastern Michigan meet, in which the Bulls will face off against one of the top teams in the conference on both the men's and women's side.
Eastern Michigan's men (2-2) beat the Bulls' men (2-1) by less than 20 points to win last season's MAC championship. The Eagles were also the only team to have more All-MAC selections then the Bulls.
The Eagles' women (5-0) finished fifth last season - one place behind the Bulls.
The Bulls begin their push for the title with an Ohio road trip. The Bulls take on Bowling Green and Michigan State on Saturday and face off with Miami (Ohio) on Sunday.
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