Feb. 22, 2007
Back in 1990, my coach at St. Bonaventure had a quote from the epic poem "The Aenied" he liked to share with our team: "To live is to suffer." That quote is perhaps applicable to our program's Big Ten experience in 2007. There is no experience for a swimmer in the country that is more intimidating than the Big Ten Championships. To make a scoring swim at night, you have to have an NCAA B standard. Athletes that are used to coasting into the finals in high school are forced to deal with having to compete full out in order to just get a swim at night. This year forced many of our younger swimmers to learn a hard lesson. As a program, we "suffered" greatly. But through the suffering, we emerged stronger and aware of what it is going to take to compete at this level. The kids never quit, and though frustrated; they represented themselves very well.
We had another very steady year in diving. On the women's side, we had Amy Schmidt and Katie Edwards score. On the men's side, we scored more points than we had in a decade. Between freshmen David Garry and Ivan Zalessov, we scored in all three diving events.
In swimming, we had no other choice than to use our young people. We had freshmen lead off all four medley relays. At the women's meet, we had at least two freshmen on every relay. One bright spot came when we had the second-fastest 800 free relay in program history for the men. It was also the only relay that scored in the top eight in the conference.
In all, the Big Ten Championships were a disappointment. However, we are returning a solid core of team members, and they seem to understand that to battle in this conference, you are going to have to work. We will improve, and we will do it together as a program and as a team.
I want to congratulate junior Matt McNichols, who was named a State Farm Champion in the Classroom. Look for his message at our football games in the fall.
Until next time,