Limited participation characterizes Midwest Invite

By Sarah Langs

In their season finale, the Maroons finished third at the Midwest Invitational over the weekend at Ratner Athletics Center. All that is left now are the NCAA D–III Championships in March.

“Place was not a factor in this event,” head coach Jason Weber said. “It was purely an event for our non-conference swimmers to compete at a championship-style meet and to try to get some faster NCAA qualifying times.”

The team approached the meet as a tool they could use to their advantage, rather than a competition. The utility of the meet lies in the way the coaching staff chose to place swimmers in events.

“[Not everyone participated], and we didn’t have people in every event,” first-year swimmer Andrew Angeles said.

Assistant coach Krista Carlson attributed this approach to the loss, again placing very little significance on the third-place finish. “[It was a result of the] number of athletes participating,” she said.

Given the selectivity of the swims the coaches chose to place the team in, the results were favorable.

“Everyone who swam at this meet was a highlight for us,” Carlson said. “With only a few swims, Coach Weber and I were very happy with how everyone swam.”

In terms of actual accomplishments, Angeles achieved a faster time in the 100-yard breaststroke.

“We had a few swimmers meet their NCAA ‘B’ cut as well as some improve their cut times for a better chance to compete at the National level,” Carlson said.

On the emotional side, first-year swimmer George Gvakharia noticed the effect of the meet on the fourth-years. “This was most of the [fourth-years’] last meet of their careers,” he said. “There was a lot of nostalgia going on because of that.”

Now, the team has a long period to train and rest before NCAA Championships.

“We’ll be building our endurance back up, and shortly before NCAAs we will taper again,” Carlson said of the team’s conditioning strategy moving forward.

“The NCAA Championships is a very large, fast, and competitive meet,” Angeles said. “We are getting focused and eagerly awaiting the NCAA meet.”

The Maroons will compete in the NCAA D–III Championships on March 21–24 in Indianapolis.