Last weekend, the swim team competed in their first race of the season, an inter-squad meet. This meet acted as a practice in order to get the team back into the competitive mode and boost team spirit.
To set up the meet, the five captains split up the mens and womens team into a red and black team. Captain Larissa Alves, a junior sports management major, was on the red team. She said that right from the start, spirits were high. “We had black caps and red caps. We also had face paint and some people painted their bodies with a big ‘LU’. We also had pom poms and megaphones,”said Alves. Her team even came up with a cheer to chant during the races.
To make the meet more fun, the swimmers were able to compete in a variety of nontraditional races. “We usually have normal lineups or normal events that we would swim at each meet. But this meet we had different events to make it more fun. Usually it’s 50s, 100s and 200s but we did 50s, 150s and also a 300. We also did mixed relays with two guys and two girls.”
This format diffused the pressure of a normal meet and amplified team spirit. “Honestly it was more about enjoying the competition between ourselves and the races instead of caring about the times,” Alves said. “We were just trying to beat the other teams so the time didn’t really matter. All the guys were cheering for the girls and all the girls cheered for the guys. It was very energetic and loud.”
This trial meet was the perfect way to transition into the competitive mindset. “Some of us haven’t raced in over five months,” Alves said. “This meet helped us remember how it feels and bring back the competitive feeling and toughness.”
At the end of the day, the red team edged out on top with a final score of 239 to 232. Regardless, each team won in terms of team spirit and were able to showcase the results of their hard work. This meet also highlighted the natural talent of the new students.
Alves, a NCAA Division II national qualifier last year, believes that there is a “100%” chance that more people could advance to the tournament this year. “The freshman class is very fast,” said Alves. “We also have a good chance of taking a relay which hasn’t happened in so long. We could take at least four or five girls.”
Come support the swimming team when they face Illinois Wesleyan University at home on Oct. 14.
Photo Credit: Somkene E. Ugwu