By Andrew Smith
The swimming and diving team has entered the final stretch of the season. The NE10 Championships on Feb. 15-18 in Worcester, Massachusetts, quickly approaches as the team fine-tunes their techniques and approach.
Cooper Rivers, a junior who has been on the team for three years, reflected on how they’ve grown over the course of this season. “Our team has gotten astronomically better this year than it has been the last few years. I love everyone on the team, and I’m happy to have everyone here.”
A significant reason why the team has improved is due to the hard work each individual put into their skills in the offseason. Rivers, a biology major, said, “I just focused on staying in shape and making sure that I was getting a good enough workout in.”
Eric Slavin, a first-year finance major, also discussed his offseason focus and how he set himself up for success in his debut season. “In the offseason, I trained my endurance and strength by going to the gym four to five times a week after realizing that was a problem in my swimming I can work on.”
The swimming and diving team has had a great season so far and their performances at the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) put them on notice. Over the course of the meet, the Panthers set 10 new records. Rivers set a new record in the 400 IM, and Slavin set records in three competitions (200 Free Relay, 400 Medley Relay and 200 Medley Relay).
“I was able to accomplish this achievement by putting trust in my teammates and their abilities to go the times necessary to break the record. The mindset for that race was to just put everything we had into it and go the best time we could to show that our training has been worth it,” Rivers said.
Salvin said they accomplished this feat by working together not just as a team but as a family. “The chemistry and belief in one another are unmatched, and that helped us achieve the school records and the best time in the conference. There was no gameplan other than to give it everything you have; we gave the best effort possible and came out victorious,” he said.
When a team has this much success at a single event, it can serve as a significant turning point and building block for the stretch run. “I think our turning point was after ECAC, after a meet, we did not taper for; we swam exceptionally while being exhausted and dead from months of training,” Slavin said. “That showed us that if we work even harder, while we’re tapered, we’re going to do great things for the program.” [Note: Tapering refers to the practice of reducing your training as a swimmer approaches a competition.]
“ECAC was a big turning point because it showed everyone on the team how their training is helping them drop in their best events, and they are dropping to times that they originally didn’t think would have been possible at this time during the season,” Rivers said.
The final test that awaits our Panthers is the mid-February conference championship. “The most important factor for my teammates and me that we are working on in preparation for the NE 10 championships is the mental factor,” Slavin said. “We just have to stay calm, humble and confident. We can't walk in there cocky and arrogant and expect it to go our way. We have to stick with the training and be prepared.”
Rivers emphasized the importance of keeping the current work ethic and putting trust in their head coach, Marc Danin, and one another like they have done all season.
Come and support our Panthers as they enter the final stretch of the season.