As the SJU Swim & Dive team tapers, they have one meet left before the MIAC Championships.
By Matt Captain
SJU Swim and Dive is having yet another strong season this year.
The team opened the season with two consecutive sweeps. The Hamline Invitational marked its opening meet where they beat Hamline, Macalester and St. Mary’s handily with 397 points, while the next team finished with 317 points.
The Johnnies continued their fresh start at the Macalester Invitational as they crushed Macalester, Iowa Lakes Community College and St. Mary’s with 544.6 points, as the next closest team barely touched them with 356.5 points.
The Johnnies lost their winning streak as they fell to St. Thomas, 170-69.
After losing to St. Thomas in the dual, the team rebounded with a victory at Hamline 155-131.
SJU found themselves finishing second place behind St. Thomas at their rivals’ home meet, while beating St. Olaf and Macalester.
On Saturday, Jan. 20, the Johnnies fell to Carleton, 154-126.
Although the season has had a couple of rough patches, the Johnnies have been dominating the other teams across the MIAC.
With a final chance to prove themselves before the MIAC Championships, the Johnnies will travel to Gustavus this Saturday, Jan. 27. The Johnnies have hopes set high that they can perform well this weekend and hope to have a strong finish to the regular season.
“We started taper this week, meaning less yards with more time and less reps. We will stop weightlifting in the mornings and eat a very healthy diet. Keep the sweets to a minimum,” senior captain Aidan Culloton said.
As tapering means easing back on training, the Johnnies will be fresh for the MIAC Championships on Feb. 15, at the University of Minnesota.
With Gustavus and the MIAC Championships fast approaching, the SJU Swim and Dive Team have set many goals.
“My goal is to finish top eight in conference in the 200 (meter) breast, preferably top three,” sophomore Caleb Birklid said.
Even the freshmen are optimistic.
“Going under a minute in the 100 (meter) breaststroke [is my goal],” first-year Joe Schwamm said.
Aside from the athletes, Head Coach Bill Saxton speaks very highly of this year’s team, especially the improvement since the beginning of the season.
“We have a decent sized freshman class, who’ve really come around since our training trip,” Saxton said. “Our juniors and seniors have gained a little more maturity with each meet, and they have started paying more
attention to their technique. They want to work harder at the little things.”
In addition to this improvement throughout the season, Saxton has set an attainable goal for the team at conference.
“Of course, you always want to win. Reasonably, we would like to be in the top three in the MIAC,” Saxton said. “St. Thomas is very good. Gustavus has a lot of good divers. They have four great divers, so that will be a hurdle for the guys. St. Olaf, Carleton and Hamline also look good. We just want our guys to execute well in the meet and we will see where that gets us.”
No matter the outcome, SJU Swim and Dive will be meet ready this weekend as well as for the MIAC Championships.
And echoing across the pool will be Schwamm and the rest of the team with their rally cry: “Who do we do it for? Saxton. What are we going to have? Fun.”