October 29, 2013

St. Thomas Relays jump-start team for regular season

The Maroons competed in their first meet of the school year this past Saturday at the St. Thomas Relays in Minneapolis, MN. The meet came before the team’s preseason, and was an opportunity for members to start preparing for their winter competition season.

Because the team has been practicing consistently since the beginning of the quarter, getting the chance to actually compete and practice racing was heavily anticipated.

“Our team has been training for the past month, and we finally got the chance to show off our work in Minnesota,” said third-year breaststroker Andrew Angeles.

The St. Thomas Relays allowed the Maroons to kick off competition with a fun, rather unconventional meet. In a sport that is mostly focused on individual performance, relays allow teammates to compete collectively and support each other. Besides diving events, all of the races at the meet were relays, giving the South Siders a chance to race in a relatively relaxed atmosphere. Another interesting aspect of this meet was that it wasn’t scored, easing pressure even more.

Head coach Jason Weber specifically chose this meet to start the season because of all the relays.

“A relay meet is generally viewed as a fun meet since most events are not common, and that’s the reason why I chose to attend this meet,” Weber said. “We’ve never been to a relay meet before, and I knew our swimmers would be excited to compete in one. Plus, we never get a chance to compete against the Minnesota schools during the season.”

Angeles appreciated the way the relay meet highlighted teamwork.

“Because the whole meet was made of relays, we had to come together as a team and rely on each other,” he said.

Out of 17 relay events, six were events found at regular meets, and 11 were relay races unique to this particular meet. Some unusual races were mixed or coed relays, as well as “animal” relays that consisted of mixed strokes or longer distances.

“The unusual style of the races was a fun way to start our season, especially as a low-pressure atmosphere for our freshmen’s first college meet ever,” Angeles said. “We are excited for the rest of our season.”

Despite the relaxed nature of the meet, the Maroons took their racing seriously and put on a good showing for their first competition of the school year. The men’s and women’s squads won six events each to combine for a total of 12 events out of 21 events at the entire meet. The South Siders also set seven meet records over the course of the day.

With their preseason about to start, this meet was a good way for the Maroons to ease back into competition mode and start to focus on the meets ahead. As their official preseason starts, the South Siders will take on Wheaton next weekend in an away meet.