Sickness, lack of personnel pose problems for men's swimming

By Jamie Macpherson

The start of the men’s swimming season has been all about overcoming challenges. For example, the Scots are still looking for divers. With no diver on the team, the team is automatically docked a certain amount of points at every meet. But, said Head Coach Bob Pearson, this part of the season is more about improvement than anything else. He likened these past meets to “dress rehearsals” for the conference final in mid-February.”Basically we’re just trying to find a little bit more consistency than anything else,” Pearson said. “But we’re progressing a lot. The check points along the way indicate good things.”Like many of Mac’s teams this year, the men’s swim team is young. The team includes many promising first years. Nathan Young ’11 has already broken two school records, both the 100 and 200 backstroke, a feat made more incredible because he had his appendix removed about a month ago. He attributes his success in part to good coaching and having teammates who push him to do his best. “It’s really nice to have a coach and team who supports you,” Young said. “It’s very encouraging.”

One of the main difficulties for the Scots this year has been dealing with the lack of a pool. “We don’t have as much flexibility as we would normally have,” Pearson said. “We have to find alternative ways to get them to train.”

Another challenge this year is the amount of meets that the Scots have attended. Within the last month alone, the men have competed in six meets. “We’ve had two meets in a weekend,” Young said. “That’s exhausting; not just for swimming, but because you spend all day swimming. You get home and realize your whole day is gone. [There’s] less time to socialize, less time to do homework.”

Young says that while it’s hard to bring a laptop to meets, many of the swimmers will take reading and flash cards. “We do what we can,” he said.

The Scots have risen to the many challenges. Several of the men have placed well in the meets, including first places by returning swimmers Seth McIntire ’09, and Mitch Stapleton ’10 in the 50-yard free style and the 500-yard free style, respectively.

Pearson said the team’s strategy is to focus on a specific goal for each meet. “We take each [meet] one at a time,” he said. “At certain meets, we [look for] good starts, at certain meets, good turns. It just depends on what meet it is, who we’re competing against.” This past weekend was the last meet until second semester, so the players focused on tying everything together to create solid performances.

Both the men and women’s team plan to spend J-term in Hawaii, where many of the Scots will be competing in an invitational meet. Young says he’s looking forward to the “break.” “Of course I’m excited,” he said. “Who wouldn’t be?” But, Young said, the trip will be hard work too, as the majority of the time will be spent training. “We go there to train our hardest,” he said. “It could easily be called hell week. It’s like ‘Yay we’re in Maui. My whole body hurts.”

Looking at the rest of the season, Person seems optimistic. “It’s a great group of men and women,” Pearson said. “.They really work together to be the best they can be.