With the first six weeks of practice and one meet already complete, the Sun Devils swim and dive team can begin to switch gears and look forward to the more competitive parts of the season.
This past Saturday, the Sun Devils traveled and competed in a dual meet against the University of Minnesota. Although they did not come out on top, swimming Coach Dan Kesler and dive Coach Mark Bradshaw said they feel confident with where they stand.
“The first meet gives us a good indication of what to look for,” Kesler said. “It’s actually a really good starting point and eye opener.”
Although two of the strongest female swimmers were not present at the meet because they were at the FINA Open Water World Cup in Hong Kong and three divers did not compete because of injury and illness, the team still seemed excited and ready to compete, the coaches said.
“They were all motivated to go in there and compete to the best of their abilities,” Bradshaw said.
All five of the Sun Devil divers have competed at high levels before, a luxury not shared by the young swim team. Saturday was many swimmers’ first collegiate meet.
“The younger kids need the education,” Kesler said. “There were a lot of nerves out there, good and bad, but coaches are there to help channel that.”
The first meet of the year is not about winning as much as it is about finding out where swimmers’ times stand and figuring out where to improve.
For freshmen like Josh Lamb, this was a time to adjust and experience competition at the collegiate level.
“I didn’t know what to expect, the level of competition was so much higher,” Lamb said. “Now I take what I learned and move on to the next meet.”
The highly competitive atmosphere at the collegiate level and fast pacing of the meet helped to motivate the swimmers and help them to understand what they need to focus on.
These insights gained from the opening meet are likely the most important part of the season, as the teams begin to look toward more competitive meets coming up in the next month and a half. Meanwhile, the coaching staff adjusts training schedules to fit those needs.
“We’re transitioning to train the regular list of dives,” Bradshaw said. “(This is) when we take the basics and skills and apply them to big dives.”
The swim team is no different, as senior swimmer David Adalsteinsson has experienced this before.
“It’s a lot of dry land and stamina the first six weeks,” Adalsteinsson said. “Now we’re starting to get more into swimming shape.”
With the season fully in gear and a home meet coming up on Oct. 26, expectations are high and improvement is inevitable, Adalsteinsson said.
“In my opinion, we never have the perfect meet. That’s why we train,” Adalsteinsson said. “If you’re not getting faster, then there’s something wrong.”
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