Swimming teams ending year on impressive footing

By Jamie Macpherson

As the season draws to a close, Mac’s Swimming and Diving team looks to the MIAC Championships next Thursday. Overall, the Scots have had a successful season, with the women finishing with 364 points and the men with 191. Coach Bob Pearson said he was satisfied with the team’s ending results.”There were quirky injuries… that kept us from winning sometimes, but we did well,” he said. “My two goals are: one, to always improve; and two, to have fun.”

“This is the strongest the women’s team has ever been,” men’s captain George Robbins ’07 said. “The men’s team has definitely improved. We hope to beat St. Mary’s in the conference.”

“We did really well this year,” Alexandra Cortez ’09 said.

Some of the highlights she cited were winning the St. Kate’s invitational on the last race and the swim team group trip to Puerto Rico.

“That was really fun, we got to go to beaches, go on trips to the rainforest, and have lots of bonding,” she said. “The bonding makes it easier to support each other.”

Jeremy Glover ’08 agreed. “[While] swimming is by nature independent, your teammates’ performances affect you. Having people you can look up to makes it better.”

However, Glover said, the trip to Puerto Rico also brought on one of the Scots’ most difficult struggles of the season. Upon returning to the U.S., many in the team fell sick. A large number of the swimmers and divers suffered from bad ear infections and respiratory problems. Some, Cortez said, couldn’t even get in the water.

“It was one of those quirky years,” Pearson said. “We had some injuries [like a hurt quad], that are basically unheard of in swimming. Lots of people were sick, and it hurt morale a little bit, but we made it through.”

Another challenge the team faced at the end of the season was the loss of their home pool. Because of renovations being done on the gym, the Scots were forced to practice in other facilities, like St. Kate’s and the University of Minnesota.

“It’s just not the same without a home pool,” Glover said. “There’s a certain amount of nostalgia [connected to it], and without it you feel out of place. You have to rely on the bond you have with your teammates.”

There is a benefit to the move, however. In using the University of Minnesota’s pool, the swimmers are getting in more practice in the facilities where the MIAC Championships will be held.

“[The University of Minnesota pool] is not a pool we compete in often,” Pearson said. “So to get an opportunity to go in and train, to get used to the blocks and the walls, and the atmosphere is nice. Then once you get used to it, the anxiety is gone, and you can focus better. I think it’s a huge advantage in the end.”

“I expect Conference to go really well for the divers,” Annie Flanagan ’09 said. “Although we hit some bumps in the middle with a lot of people sick, I think we have done a good job maintaining the pace. Individually, I have come a long way… and I’m hoping to end on a high note at Conference.”

“Personally, I’m really looking forward to it,” Robbins said. “We always swim really fast… it’s a relief to finally be here. Meets are meets, but this is what really matters. And now we can finally shave off our bad facial hair, put on the technical suits and just swim as fast as we can.”