As the Sun Devils’ first dual meet against Minnesota approaches, the dive team continues to keep its cool by maintaining meticulous and personalized training schedules in preparation for the rest of the season.
This meet is much earlier in the season than is normal for the Sun Devils, but coach Mark Bradshaw said he sees this as a period to fuel competitive spirit and evaluate team strengths.
“We’re just getting back into the swing of it during these early weeks of training,” Bradshaw said. “It is during this time that athletes are practicing for the first time together again after competing and training individually during the summer.”
Repetition of dives, strong emphasis on fundamentals and weight room work are all part of Bradshaw’s plan to bring the team’s “physical conditioning to a higher level” as they work on individual aspects of each diver’s form.
“Everybody does something well and they have areas of weakness,” Bradshaw said. “We’re only a month into training, so we’re not working on competitive diving as much as the basics.”
It is the first few months that are the most important to set up the rest of season as athletes shake off the rust, improve their conditioning and get stronger in preparation for harder parts of the semester coming up in November, Bradshaw said.
Bradshaw said this year’s dive team is a very experienced group that has competed at the highest level.
“We just want to ride that wave into the upcoming season,” Bradshaw said.
The Sun Devil team is filled with returning veterans like Hailey Casper, NCAA runner-up on the 3-meter spring board; Morgan Weller, NCAA 1-meter spring board champion, and two-time Olympian Riley McCormick, who placed 11th overall at the London Olympics on the 10-meter platform.
“There is no doubt that those three have a shot to win if they’re on, whether it is at conference or NCAA Championships,” Bradshaw said.
With these goals in mind for the rest of the year, the Sun Devils must first evaluate where they are now.
The dual meet against Minnesota is going to be just the time to evaluate and consider varying elements of each diver’s performance as the athletes get a chance to dive against an opponent.
“We’re going to do our best and some may do well,” Bradshaw said, “but they get a chance to compete, and competing is a lot different than practicing.”
The meet’s early scheduling may leave the divers somewhat unprepared, but the teammates’ relationship keeps everyone together “like a little family,” Bradshaw said.
“We’re a pretty tight-knit group with swim, but this sport is purely individual,” Bradshaw said. “There is a team component involved, and there is a unity in that regard.”
The Sun Devils compete at Minnesota on Oct. 5 and have their first dual home meet against Denver at 3 p.m. on Oct. 25.
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