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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Diving Right In (Tufts/Wesleyan/Trinity Recap)

It's been over a week since our first weekend of competition and I continue to have a feeling of contentment with how the team performed... along with a strong sense of urgency to keep on improving.

Tufts Recap
click above for the Bates recap and meet results
Honestly, I can't enjoy getting dominated like we did against Tufts.  Even at our most fatigued and early stages of the season, my expectation is that we force the best teams in the conference to step up and compete to the end to put the final touches on a win.  Unfortunately, it seemed after about event four that Tufts had the meet well in hand.  That bugs me as I am always optimistic that even the best teams in the conference will have tight races against us in every event.  Several strong one-two finishes by Tufts showed me clearly how far we still have to go to compete against teams that are top 4 in the conference.  The NESCAC's top 4 are very capable of top 15 finishes at NCAA's - that tells you the level of depth our conference possesses - but since the day I arrived for my interview I felt Bates has all the right ingredients to be annually in that group, if not better.  So the bar is still high, and we clearly have a long way to travel to get there.  Needless to say, it is meets like this that keep us hungry and motivated - and driving to Wesleyan later that night, I have to admit, I had a very clear idea of both our team's weaknesses and strengths.  As you surely noticed, I said strengths and there were several highlights from the meet we can easily rally around, especially seeing that it is still so early in the season.  Ultimately in swimming, it clearly is how you end, not how you begin that matters.  We will keep that mantra all year long.

Tufts Highlights
1) Charlotte Green picks up right where she left off as one of the best freestyle sprinters in the conference.  An impressive 54.8 at the Tufts pool is a swim I personally consider exceptional.  Her second 50 dominated the field, and what a great sign for early on in the season.

2) Our women's 400 freestyle free relay easily took the victory - a great sign of our depth and NESCAC capabilities in the freestyle events.  The 400 Free relay is an absolute favorite of mine, and I think it speaks volumes about your team.  The last event of the meet, a relay, and the most important stroke of any competition - the winner of that race can feel good about their toughness, their ability, their training, and their faith in each other. All important in my book.

3) Travis Jones scored a lifetime best on the 1 meter board and kicks off his second season only 40 points outside of a national cut!

4) Lifetime best performances from Santina Snow, Lyndsay Wallace, Amanda Moore (wow!)... along with dozens of performances that start off the year much faster than the previous season.  A few that come to mind are Emilie Giessinger's 200 free, Nick Karlson's 500 & 1000, Nathaniel Depew's victory in the 100 back, Pat Carroll's 50 free, and Peem's 100 breast (note: Peem was diagnosed with pneumonia the following Sunday!)

Trinity - Wesleyan Recap
click above for the Bates recap and meet results
Two wins against Trinity and a men's meet against WES that came down to the last event made for an exciting early season double dual (men lost by 10 points, which in essence is one more first place finish... further, we lost 3 races by .3!  If any of them go our way we potentially win... I'll walk away with that type of motivation any day).   I remember my first two years trumpeting only individual performances.  It is nice to see both individual accomplishments and team triumphs are now the norm.

Big props to Wesleyan's women's team.  They were dominate... and clearly both in great shape and fast.  On the men's side I was very impressed with Trinity as their team is sporting tons more depth and several first year swimmers that will make a big impact on the conference, and their dual meet results.  By the way, the conference is getting scary deep.  My prediction is that it's going to be the deepest NESCAC champs ever with 24th place being much faster than any other conference in the entire nation.

Overall, it was great to see how we responded after a difficult Friday night of races the very next day.  Two dual meets in less than 18 hours isn't easy - but at this stage of the season it's not supposed to be easy, so we are good with it.  One thing I know for sure that is this team is full of tough athletes.  According to the one head coach in the conference they swam nearly half a second faster per 50 Friday night than they did the next day.  I gotta tell you, we swam just as fast, if not even better.  That is clearly the most impressive thing I took away from the weekend of competing.  We have been hitting the aerobic side of the sport hard this first month and I see it paying off.  Improvements in racing were made Saturday and many a swimmer did things even better against Trinity and Wesleyan they did Friday night against Tufts.  That is a good direction to be trending in!

Trinity/Wesleyan Highlights
1) 400 Freestyle Relays take the cake for me.  We dominated both.  The women won by 2.5 seconds and the men by over 3.  Wow.  Over the past 3 years I have been very aware of how important freestyle depth is to success and I will continue to look for ways to measure it.  A 4Free relay gives me some very concrete feedback.

2) Kara Leasure pops a 2:30 in the 200 breast.  Only .5 off what she did at conferences last year.  She just might go a lifetime best in season this year, and that says a lot seeing that she has been top 8 in this conference her first two years.

3) Elle Sergi is talented.  Over the course of two meets she was top 3 in the 50 free (25.6), 100 free (56), 500 free (5:30), 100 back (1:02), and 200 back (2:17).  Seriously impressive two days of racing.

4) Won Ho pops the number one 200 fly time in the NESCAC winning the event with a 1:59.

5) Sammy Schadt and Tommy BonSurgery go 1-2 in the 100 free.  Depew continues to swim fast in the 100 and 200 back.  Boniface also goes 2:04 in the 200 IM,  Sparkles charges home in both a 100 free and breast - a totally new (and dangerously effective) strategy for her. Dugan goes 5:24 feeling "off" in the 500.  Leah Burke pops two very strong 200 IM's for us.  And Kick Sullivan's 500 free!

6) Of course there were more... please comment below if you want to give props to a team member!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Go Bobcats! Can't wait to cheer you all on in person!!!