With a new school year beginning, the ASU swim team looks strong and confident, despite losing many upperclassmen after last season.
Coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker said the Sun Devils’ fresh faces do not concern her, as she plans to rebuild an even stronger team with the help of female returners Tristin Baxter and Alex Popa, as well as male veterans Alex Coci and Zac Dalby.
“This is the youngest team I’ve ever dealt with at ASU,” Tierney-Walker said. “It’s a much different team than we’ve had in the past.”
Despite the team’s youth, there is no lack of experience from freshmen Ingibjorg Jonsdottir of Iceland and Hungarian Anna Olasz, as both have competed at the international level.
However, Tierney-Walker said there are some local newcomers whose talent should not be ignored.
“I’m excited to tap into the local talent,” said Tierney-Walker, referring to freshman Katarina Simonovic. “She may be the best prospect out of the state this year.”
The team’s new look comes with a new training prospective from Tierney-Walker, as she plans to compete in what she believes to be “hands down the best conference.”
In the fall semester, the Sun Devils will focus on developing individual skills to enhance team goals, which Tierney-Walker believes will make them a dangerous prospect in the second semester.
“I’m absolutely excited to see how this group evolves,” said Tierney-Walker. “In terms of athletics, this is by far our best team.”
The Sun Devils swim at University of Minnesota for their first meet Saturday, Oct. 5.
Expectations continue to rise for the talented ASU dive team, which begins this season with the national championship in its sights.
It is almost difficult to look at the Sun Devils’ diving squad and not find an athlete without championship experience. However, due to health problems last season, the team has had issues reaching its potential, coach Mark Bradshaw said.
“We struggled with injury all last year,” Bradshaw said. “This year, we’re hoping to get everything in the sweet spot.”
Senior Riley McCormick struggled with an injury last year after succumbing to hand issues and undergoing thumb surgery.
Bradshaw said McCormick returns this year as a strong prospect with experience in international competition, but that he is still recovering.
The women bring even more experience with junior Sydney Czaus, senior Hailey Casper and sophomore Morgan Weller all returning after competing well last season.
“I have a greater expectation for the ladies,” Bradshaw said. “We want first or second in every meet.”
These raised expectations are not solely the responsibility of the women’s team, as the Sun Devils expect at least a title or two at conference from the men as well, Bradshaw said.
“We should be diving at a level for everyone to qualify for national championships,” Bradshaw said.
Fewer injuries and timely competitiveness are integral to meeting Bradshaw’s hopes of competing at a championship level.
“The goal is the same every year,” Bradshaw said. “Train real hard and score.”
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