Swimming and Diving focus on mental, physical preparations towards season end
Hunter O. Lyle—Sports Editor
With the NE-10 Conference championships just about a week away, the men and women’s swimming and diving team look to take their 14th banner in 16 years.
In the realm of pools and chlorine, Southern holds high honors in the NE-10 as well as around the country. Currently, the program boasts 13 NE-10 Championship titles, as well as 18 national championships through ten events.
Head coach for both the men and women’s swimming and diving team Tim Quill who has been coaching at Southern for over 20 years and has collected 23 NE-10 Coach of the Year awards said that while he is happy with the team’s performance over the regular season, he and the rest of the team have been totally focused on the end-game.
“The season’s going great, but everything will be determined in a week and a half,” said Quill. “We’re a team that thinks about the season culminating event, which is the conference championship.”
At the start of the season, the team had a nine new freshman faces. Junior swimmer Avery Fornaciari said the incoming youth has added to the team as they break out of their shells and start to compete.
“[The freshmen have developed] very well. They’ve come a long way,” said Fornaciari. “When they first came in they were all pretty shy, a little hesitant. I feel like they’ve really adapted with the upperclassmen really well, and I feel like they’ve all really grown into the team.”
Forniciari said that since their training regimen has gotten “intense”, including more early practices, weight-lifting and sprints, the whole team has become more dedicated to the sport over the season.
“Definitely this is the hardest working team we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Forniciari. “Everybody’s been really pushing new limits and we’ve been doing different hype activities every day, like today everybody had to bring in motivational quotes. Everybody’s getting really excited.”
As the NE-10 Championships grow closer, which take place over three and a half consecutive days in Worcester, Mass., the team’s training switches from diverse and acute training to more of mental preparations and physical restoration said Quill.
“These athletes are training 20 hours a week, swimming up to nine different work outs in a week, including water and dry land strength training, swimming [around] 40 to 50 miles a week in the height of the season,” said Quill. “Now we’re probably around one third of that, maybe getting down to one quarter. Now we are resting, we want the body to rest and prepare for their three best individual events and relays.”
Senior swimmer Drew Dantino said the last stretch of the season is the toughest for himself since it’s his last opportunity to be a part of the team.
“It is for sure bitter sweet,” said Dantino. “I mean, I love swimming, that’s why I do it still. The practices get grueling, so in that aspect, I look forward to not having to come in twice a day and give it my all, but it’s definitely going to be sad. I’m going to miss it.”
Dantino, a four-year swimmer who has competed in the championships before, also said the best preparation the team can do is just to rely on the training and skills they’ve learned over the season.
“I think that the biggest thing would probably be to stay calm, stay relaxed. Think clearly and just focus on all that we’ve done this year and not to get too anxious and too excited,” said Dantion. “Swim well.”