The swim team opens its home season this Friday and Saturday at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center against the University of Denver and the UNLV.
Saturday will be a triple-dual meet, meaning ASU will be scored against Denver and UNLV individually, while both teams also compete against each other. Friday will be short-course meters racing, an unconventional style of racing in the U.S., where measurements are typically in yards, not meters.
While the distances and racing on Friday aren’t used in more important competitions like NCAAs, coach Dan Kesler acknowledged the benefits that can be gained from racing under alternative conditions.
“It gives them a little different sense, and it’s exciting for the international kids to know their times,” Kesler said. “But more importantly, it’s a different form of racing, and we want them to be able to race.”
This will only be the second meet of the season for the Sun Devils, and while confidence is high, the coaches’ goals for the team are still on the horizon.
“At this point in the year if you’re feeling good there’s something wrong,” Kesler said. “We’re an end of the year team, and we don’t slow down for dual meets, but I think we’re in a great spot.”
During fall break, the team did not get to rest and travel home, but instead attended a training camp throughout the break to strengthen skills and team build. The swimmers are coming off stronger and confident for this weekend, said sophomore swimmer Brendan Weiner.
“Coming off of training camp everyone’s more confident in their strengths,” Weiner said. “We’re not more relaxed, but more composed.”
The training camp was focused on a variety of skills the coaches set for the end of the year, but nothing is more crucial than racing experience, especially with such a young team.
“Knowing how a dual meet works is huge,” Weiner said. “For over half the team (Minnesota) was their first college dual. We know what to focus on instead of going in expecting anything.”
Training camp and the experience of a meet (and a loss), have all raised the expectations and excitement for the weekend, junior Melanie Busch said.
“It’s always good to get the first one out of the way,” Busch said. “Everyone’s really excited. Everyone’s been working hard, and it’s going to be good to see how everyone pushed themselves even when we’re tired.”
Athletes and coaches agree that the obvious goal is to win and swim the best they can, but the coaching staff is always looking to the end of the year.
“Since they’re so young, they now have expectations, flow and intensity,” Kesler said. “The purpose is to set them up for the end. Everything is for the end of the year goal.”
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