ASU swim and dive looks forward to championships after successful season

Both the men and women have transitioned focus from the regular season to the Pac-12 Championships in Federal Way, Washington.

much improved ASU swim and dive team is preparing for the Pac-12 Championships after its regular season concluded with a meet against UA two weeks ago.

This season was head coach Bob Bowman’s first full season with his own recruiting class, and 21 freshmen took the pool with high expectations.

Chloe Isleta, a freshman who swims backstroke and IM, said she focused on achieving her best times each meet, but talking with the seniors changed her perspective.

“It’s about winning each event,” Isleta said.

She quickly achieved that goal by leading the team in individual event scoring.

However, the freshmen were able to contribute more than just points to the team’s 2016-2017 success, especially during winter training.

“I’ve never felt so tired in my entire life,” Isleta said. “But you could tell that everyone was tired, and the only thing you could do was stay positive throughout the set.”

The hard winter training was to prepare for back to back meets with the No.1 and No. 2 teams in the country, Stanford and Cal.

“I was nervous but then I realized we are both swimmers, we both want the same goals, so all I wanted to do was just get my hand on the wall first,” Isleta said. “It didn’t matter if they were Olympians, if they weren’t, I just wanted to perform my best for the team.”

Isleta has been widely regarded as the top freshman in the class, but she doesn’t want her teammates hard work to go unnoticed. She said Kendall Dawson and other freshmen have to swim other events that are just as difficult, if not harder than hers.

Ultimately, both the men and women swam hard against the Cardinal and the Bears, but their efforts were not enough to defeat either team. However, ASU was able to beat USC, a team that two years ago won the Pac-12 Championships.

Christian Lorenz, a junior who swims primarily breaststroke, said his favorite moment of the season was in Los Angeles when they brought home the unexpected win.

“Beating USC, I think historically that shows growth in the right direction,” Lorenz said. “We stick to this process, we trust what we’re doing and USC is going to be the last thing we think about. We are going to be aiming for the top teams.”

Although the win over USC was one that will stick with Lorenz, he said the Arizona meet was another meet he was eager for.

“My mindset going into the meet was definitely this is going to be a blood bath,” Lorenz said.

He was right, the men’s competition came down to the final race where the Sun Devils eventually tied the Wildcats at 147 points. That tie ended the men’s regular season with a record of 4-2-1.

The women lost to UA in their final meet to finish with a record of 5-5.

Another crucial part of the grueling winter training was to prepare for the Pac-12 and NCAA Championships that are approaching.

“It is rough, you smile and laugh as much as you can,"  Lorenz said. "Although the sets might look horrendous, but we’re all here together. We do the same thing day in and day out and ultimately it’s fun, we get through it together and we’re still alive."

Bowman said this year would be critical to “fully establish the culture” he wanted for the team. Throughout the season, both teams made tremendous improvements from a year ago.

“Everybody here really wants to be their best,” Bowman said.

Both the men and women will have to perform their best to make some noise at the Pac-12 Championships in Federal Way, Washington in the next two weeks.

“I think everyone is looking forward to it, they have done a very good job of preparation,” Bowman said.

Bowman said he believes that the Sun Devils will continue their successful swimming at both the Pac-12 and the NCAA Championships.

“I think their performance at Pac-12’s should have a little more power than it did a year ago,” Bowman said. “We have had some people swim really well all year, we have got some people who can stand up with the guys from Stanford and Cal.” 

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