ASU swim coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker stressed that dual-meets and practices throughout the year are just tools to prepare for the Pac-12 and NCAA championships all season long.
That time has arrived for the No. 25 ASU women’s swim and dive team.
It travels to Federal Way, Wash., for the Pac-12 championships from Wednesday Feb. 27 through Saturday March 2.
Tierney-Walker said her team’s senior leadership has helped get them through the challenges of a long season.
“Like every program, we’ve gone through the ups and downs of a full season,” Tierney-Walker said. “I think on the women’s side, we’ve got a few seniors, and their experience is really starting to have a big impact on the team, especially this time of year. They just know how to prepare. It’s how the women’s team is evolving, and it’s pretty evident.”
The Pac-12 is regarded as one of the best, if not the best, conferences in swim and dive. Throughout the year, ASU competed against the top-notch teams in the conference and coming into the Pac-12 championships, the level of competition should be even steeper.
Including ASU, there are a total of six teams from the Pac-12 that are ranked in the top 25. Four are in the top 10.
“We are in the most elite conference in the country,” Tierney-Walker said. “It’s a great opportunity to perform our best against the best and that’s what our goal is.”
Tierney-Walker said her team is ready for the end of the year surge and is finally starting to get healthy.
Placing high at the Pac-12 championship is the team’s major goal. But Tierney-Walker’s ultimate priority is to get as many swimmers as she can into the NCAA championships that take place in late March.
Diving into the conference tournament
The ASU diving team will also travel to Washington to compete alongside the swimmers.
Dive coach Mark Bradshaw believes his team is ready for what it’s been preparing for all year.
“We should do very well,” Bradshaw said. “Every (diver) is capable of winning an event and placing in the top three for sure.”
Junior diver and 2012 Olympian Riley McCormick will finally return after sustaining a thumb injury in the beginning of the season that required surgery.
McCormick must perform well to keep up with his own teammate, senior diver Harrison Jones, who has had an amazing year all-around.
Bradshaw said although McCormick isn’t in Olympic form, he will compete in both the 1- and 3-meter springboard dives in the Pac-12 championships.
“Don’t count (McCormick) out of any contest,” Bradshaw said. “He’s that kind of competitor.”
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