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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bowdoin / Colby Recap

The whole distance group was on fire last weekend...  Strength in numbers!

Last weekend was a wild one.  On the men's side we knew we were facing a very deep and talented Bowdoin team.  We are a bit thin this year with our numbers after last year's graduating class - and we know our best bet to is to focus on NESCACs - but the men's team was ready to make Bowdoin swim their best if they were to beat us.  In the end the men's team couldn't match the Polar Bears, but it was a very good meet with many impressive swims.  One of the highlights was Alex Smachlo's 2nd place 1000 with his LTB and the 5th fastest time in Bates Swimming history!  That is quite an accomplishment to happen in-season!  Also, Alex helped lead the way to a 1-2-3 sweep in the 500 free showing just how good we are training in the D-lanes.  Matt Hillsberg and Pete Mihalcik had their absolute best performances of the season - no doubt.  Also, one of the other highlights was Travis and Porter on the boards.  They went 1-2 on both, and while Porter was hitting life-time best scores, Travis was putting up national consideration performances!  He is on his way to making the regional finals later in February where they pick the 20 national level divers.  It was a tremendous night for Travis at his "senior meet" in front of family and friends!
Denise, Molly, and Saya

As for the women, well they were locked in a battle until the very last race.  We knew a close meet was going to be difficult, and the Lady 'Cats would have to be at their best to get there... so coming down to the last event was such a great experience, and one that was earned and deserved.  The meet started out incredible for the women and they stormed to a 1-3 Medley relay win and several victories in the short stroke sprints.  By the first diving break they were up by 25 points!  The team new that was important as Bowdoin was going to outscore us 26-0 on the boards with no women divers able to compete.  (So many women swam tough - too many to list right now!).

As the Ladies entered the second half of the meet it was truly back and forth - and when they dove in for the final relay, they trailed by 3, knowing they had to win the last relay to tie - and possible win (if we snuck out  a 3rd too).  Bowdoin free relay team jumped in and swam out of their minds and posted, I believe, the third fastest time in the conference just behind Williams and Amherst.  It was an amazing swim for their team. A big congratulations to them.   In fact, Brad (the Bowdoin coach) told me that was their best ever in-season 400 free relay time.  Getting beat by mere seconds after over 3 hours of battling can be hard to swallow in a defeat, but knowing they had to be the best they ever been to beat us is a rewarding as you realize you are only partially there on the way to the big NESCAC meet.  There is still lots of time, lots of practicing, and lots of improvement coming - so we take defeat with our head held high, and know that we will live to battle again - and battle well.  NESCACs will be fun!

Katy and Blaine
As I have told the team, I like winning - and we know it is very important to win.  Competitiveness is trait that helps success become a reality in all aspects of life.  So yes, here at Bates we relishes NESCAC wins.  And, yes, our team wanted to send our seniors out as BBC champions.  Everyone definitely wanted to show off their hard work.  That is all good!

But winning is not nearly as important as... Being in position to win.  Being prepared to win.  And believing that you can give it your best no matter what the situation entails.  Those are the signs of a true champion. Not just in sports, but in life.

In the end, our men and I saw first hand just how far we have to go, and hard we have to work to give Bowdoin a run for their money at NESCACs.  Yes, they have a lot of hard work ahead of them to make up the differences demonstrated - but we have never shied away from hard work.

Our women on the other hand are allowed to feel proud, but also need to stay HUNGRY.  We have some unsettled business ahead of us... another chance to compete... and another chance to shine.

We know we can't control everything.  But we believe if we control the stuff we can, we will come out swimming and diving like champions.  And that is what this program, this team, and this family is all about.


Colby articles here.

PS - Friday night the team accomplished 27 relay splits that were the best this season. They also put up 78 best individual performances that evening.  That over 100 season best performances in one meet!  From 52 athletes.  Wow - thats awesome.  It's the best when you swim your best against the best!

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