January 5, 2012

December training prepares swimmers for remainder of schedule

Jamie Manley / The Chicago Maroon

Fresh off a training trip to Florida, the men’s swimming and diving team is ready to resume its season with the first meet of winter quarter this Saturday.

“The team’s mentality is very positive,” said assistant coach Krista Carlson. “Over break, we put in a lot of hours in the pool. Both the divers and swimmers worked incredibly hard.”

With extra practice in their system, the Maroons are ready to continue their dominant season.

“The entire coaching staff is pleased with how our season is going,” Carlson said.

Still, even in a season that has featured three wins, one second-place finish in a nine-team field, and no losses, there is room for improvement. At this point, the team just needs to sustain the momentum it started during the fall season.

“I think the team just needs to keep their mental toughness. Conference is right around the corner and they need to keep their work ethic up and focus on little things,” Carlson said.

The meet this weekend will provide an opportunity for the team to see how its Florida training trip will pay off and will also help the swimmers get back into the habit of competing.

“This weekend will be a challenge for the men’s team and a great way to measure where we are at this point in the season,” Carlson said.

One swimmer who managed to keep competing even over winter break is first-year freestyler and backstroker George Gvakharia. Unable to attend the Florida training trip, Gvakharia, a native of Mexico City, had another idea.

“Most of my teammates went to the training trip, and the rest of the guys decided to train in their hometowns,” Gvakharia said. “Personally, I decided to attend the Mexican Nationals.”

Gvakharia finished second in the 100m backstroke and third in the 200m backstroke.

After having managed to stay fresh over the break, the team should be able to get right back in the swing of things with the meet this Saturday.

“We have been really committed to training hard and not missing any practices at all. This commitment is due to our assistant coaches’ great ability to motivate us under hard circumstances,” Gvakharia said.

With this commitment anchoring them, the swimmers and divers will be looking to build on the improvements they made from having practiced over break, be it in Florida, Mexico, or elsewhere, as they take on Kalamazoo this weekend.

The first events will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Ratner Athletics Center.