ASU swim and dive continues to improve on technical skills

The Sun Devils look to prepare for their upcoming invitationals

The ASU swim and dive team is now headed into the next stage of its schedule with invitationals at NAU, Texas A&M and the University of Texas. 

After the Sun Devils first weekend of meets, head coach Bob Bowman expressed a desire to improve on some technical areas such as turns and starts. 

A start is when a swimmer dives head first into the pool upon hearing the starting signal. Ideally, the swimmers want to do this as quickly as possible to improve their times.

A turn is a simple change of direction; it occurs when the swimmers reach the wall and quickly flip their bodies to swim in the opposite direction. 

“Starts and turns are an opportunity to pass somebody up – they’re really undervalued,” graduate swimmer Andrew Porter said. “It’s important to be sharp with those, but there is also an element of safety to not get disqualified.”

Starts and turns are not something a coach can impact mid-race, because the race is so fast. Executing a proper start or turn requires responsibility from the swimmers, especially during relays. 

“That's on not only the swimmer coming into the wall to finish clean with a stroke right into the wall versus a very long gliding stroke, or a short half stroke, but also the responsibility of the person diving in that they are able to judge where that person is at,” Porter said.

After the ASU women's swim and dive team defeated the UCLA Bruins 189-111 on Nov. 4, Bowman discussed the improvements he saw in those technical areas.

“They were a little better,” Bowman said. “We actually did do some more starts this week.”

To strengthen the heart and lungs, the Sun Devils have been changing their exercise routine the aerobics phase of their training. 

“So early (in the) season, we do a lot of different aerobic yardage and drylands and making sure our fitness levels are where they need to be,” assistant coach Michael Joyce said. “Now we are kind of getting into a speed and power phase where we are doing a lot of races in practice. We are using these towers and power racks behind us. We are training for relays and doing relay starts and turns in practice and that is why you can see a little bit of a difference from last week to this week.” 

The ASU swim and dive team will continue to sharpen their technical skills in preparation to make NCAA cuts.

“It’s grueling – it’s fun with the group of individuals that we have, especially with the coaching staff,” Porter said. “Mike has been unbelievable in this process. (He has) just provided a really fresh perspective on sprinting in general and with Bob's leadership and everything, we're just starting to sharpen up the details.”

Looking ahead, the ASU women's swim team will compete in the Art Adamson Invitational at Texas A&M Nov. 16-17, while the men’s swim team will swim in the Texas Invitational in Austin, Texas from Nov. 30 to Dec 2. The ASU dive team will compete in the NAU Lumberjack Diving Invitational from Nov. 17-19. 

“I do think that they’ve made an improvement, but were still not there,” Joyce said. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @nsheehy_nick on Twitter.

Like State Press Sports on Facebook and follow @statepresssport on Twitter.

Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.