While the Maroons will have to fight against the currents of a grueling season for the next five months, they will have little opportunity to splash water on their foes within the UAA Conference. In fact, the South Siders have but one conference matchup throughout the entire season: a bout against chief conference rival Wash U.
Chicago competes against Wash U this Saturday, and the team knows that extra training, conditioning, and focus are necessary in the week preceding the meet.
“We may train a bit harder before teams which we are expected to beat,” said fourth-year team captain Robert Kunkel. “This way we really have to work on our mental toughness to still put up fast times. This year [one] of our tougher meets will include Wash U, a team we beat last year.”
To beat the Bears, the Maroons are not only going to have to repeat their dominance from last year’s meet, but also utilize the momentum they have from last week’s victory over Wheaton.
On the men’s side, Chicago was anchored by the likes of second-years Jonas Fowler and Rolland Lee, both of whom took home two top finishes in their respective events, as the men crushed Wheaton 162–64. As for the women, who won 136–101, the South Siders will turn to seasoned veterans like fourth-year team captain Jennifer Hill, who had the top time last week in the 100-yard freestyle.
At the end of the day, however, the Maroons know that every meet is different, and that anything can change. Thus, in order to prove that Bears can’t swim, Chicago will have to put its best stroke forward this weekend in the midst of its third straight weekend with an exhausting meet.
“There are some teams that are better than others, but no matter what we give our best efforts at the meets. Certain teams we know, since we face them every year, so we can plan where to put our best swims in advance,” said fourth-year team captain Andrew Angeles. “There is definitely a lot of encouragement the weeks before big meets, especially those against teams in the UAA.”
While the Bears are certainly the focus for the Maroons this week, the South Siders know that there is a bigger picture to fit into the frame. After having the school’s best season ever last year, the Maroons are looking to top their triumphs with an even greater summit on the mountain of success.
“We are taking things step by step, focusing on hard work in practice, and meets will help us rise to a new level. There is a very positive attitude on the team, especially with all the momentum we have from last year pushing us forward,” Angeles said.
The Maroons will take on the Bears tomorrow at 1 p.m. in St. Louis.