Both the men and women’s swimming and diving teams are coming off impressive performances this past weekend as they prepare to swim against Utah at the Avery Aquatic Center on Thursday. The men’s team won the two-day Pacific Invitational despite only attending the Saturday session.
Lots of credit goes to the freshmen class–freshman Jonathan Edwards won three individual events and classmates David Nolan and Eric Peske were among others who displayed auspicious early-season speed.
The women’s team dominated their own two-day George Haines Invitational at home, winning 17 out of the total 21 events. Sophomore Andie Taylor led the way, picking up victories in both the 200-meter free and 200-meter fly by considerable margins.
Utah, the newest member of the Pac-12, finished fifth at both the men and women’s Mountain West Conference Championship last season. In comparison, the Cardinal men’s and women’s teams won conference titles by sweeping the tougher 2011 Pac-10 Championships. Utah will be the first Pac-12 team that the Cardinal swimmers face.
“We don’t know too much about Utah because they just joined the Pac-12,” said freshman Ethan Hallowell, a specialist in sprint and mid-distance freestyle events. “But it’s good that we’re competing against them because we’ll see them down the road at the Pac-12 Championships.”
Given that the Pac-12 Championships aren’t until February and the NCAA Championship doesn’t take place until March, early season dual meets may not be the teams’ main concern.
“Right now, we’re not too worried about our racing times because it’s still early in the season,” Hallowell added. “We’re mainly focusing on practices, and in that respect, we’ve started out the season really well.”
Even with the emphasis on practices, both the men’s and women’s teams are undefeated in dual meets and invites so far this season. The men’s team has dominated Centenary College, UC-Santa Cruz and Hawaii in dual meet situations, while the women’s team downed San Jose State in a similar fashion.
As for diving, the men’s team is loaded with freshmen talent and upperclassmen experience. The Cardinal may have the top two national recruits from last year in freshmen Kristian Ipsen and Connor Kuremsky, who look to be strong additions to the other five veteran divers.
The six women divers show equal promise with one freshman and four upperclassmen. Sophomore Stephanie Phipps, who qualified for last year’s NCAA Championships in the 3-meter, has already won three straight diving events this season. The Utes are coming in with only five divers total, so the numbers are clearly in the Cardinal’s favor.
Like their swimming counterparts, the Cardinal divers are emphasizing practice, particularly accuracy and consistency in routines.
“Right now, we’re focusing on training muscle memory during practice, which involves repetitions of simple activities done on land,” Kuremsky said. “[Head coach Rick] Schavone wants us to be able to ‘dive stupid’ by the end of season, meaning that we won’t even have to think about the dives as we’re executing them.”
The Cardinal swimmers and divers host Utah this Thursday at 1 p.m. at Avery Aquatic Center.