As New England days became shorter and bleaker, the Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving teams packed their bags for sunny Miami in preparation for a week of team bonding and intense training. The teams, who are both over .500 despite a tough schedule, used the time to prepare for the upcoming Wheaton Invitational and NEWMAC Championships. “The team has done very well this season,” explained Cara Morris ’15. “It has been exciting to see our team grow from when I was a freshman in 2011… Other schools are beginning to see us less as underdogs.”
With just a few weeks left in their successful seasons, the teams headed to Florida International University, using its outdoor Olympic sized pool for two sets of practices every day. In addition, swimming and diving participated in dryland exercises, including lifting and yoga. “Practices were intense to say the least,” said Head Coach Barrett Roberts. “January is always the most difficult training month of the season for our team, and our swimmers and divers did an awesome job of stepping up and really attacking practice each day.”
During their limited time off, the team relaxed on beaches, shopped, and explored downtown Miami. One night, they even had a team dinner at a Cuban restaurant called ‘Yunca’. Swimmers agreed that the downtime allowed them to get to know each other more, which was one of the highlights of the trip. “The best part of the trip is always team bonding,” said Morris. “We come back to Wheaton campus a month before most of our peers, so many of us are [also] excited to travel to a sunny location.”
Both teams rode the momentum from Miami and have gone on a tear against recent opponents. The men’s team has gone on a 4-2 streak, overtaking Clark, Trinity, Babson and UMass Dartmouth. The women’s team has fared even better, going 5-2 since break, including a 172.50-65.50 rout of UMass Dartmouth. The only blemishes for both teams came against WPI and Tufts. “We have performed very well up to this point in our season,” explained Coach Roberts. “Our team has more depth than we had in past years… so I think we are in a great position to accomplish some things our program has never done before.”
With the regular season officially over, the swimming and diving teams now have their sights set on the Wheaton Invitational and NEWMAC Championships. “At this point we are beginning taper (resting for championships)”, explained Morris. “We need to trust our training… rest our bodies, and be confident in ourselves.”
The Wheaton Invitational will take place Feb. 6 at 6pm and Feb. 7 at 10pm. The NEWMAC Championships, meanwhile, are set to begin Feb. 19.
“I’ve been a competitive swimmer for 13 years so it is bittersweet to have my last meet at Wheaton and Championships coming soon,” said Morris. “I’m so proud of the Lady Lyons.”