Swimmers fight fatigue at 3-day tournament

Baseball players can get up to a couple days in between their games, basketball players can get three and football players get an entire week. And swimmers? Try 10 minutes.

This weekend the swimming and diving team competed in the Miami Invitational, a three day meet with multiple events held each day, causing some of the swimmers to have little to no time in between their races.

“There were a couple times where some of them had to get back up and compete in 10 minutes,” head coach Sue Novitsky said.

“A lot of people were called on to swim a lot of times. They’re learning how to deal with that level of fatigue.”

The team finished in fifth place, missing out on fourth by four points, out of the 10 teams at the Invitational, while several swimmers setting season-best times.

While they have trained and conditioned hard all season long, competing for three straight days took a toll on the Illini as a whole.

“It’s easy to be enthusiastic for one session,” said junior Meghan Mason, who had a season-best time in the 50 freestyle, as well as on the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams. “It’s a lot tougher to be for all three. It was a challenge for us to stay behind each other the whole time.”

After competing in smaller meets all year, the biggest being a tri-meet in Rochester, Mich., this weekend was a change of pace for the Illini.

“We’re pretty tired, which is a good thing,” Novitsky said. “They never gave up even if they didn’t have a good swim. They made some corrections if they made a mistake.”

Not only was it physically a change of pace, but the atmosphere surrounding the meet was different as well.

“There’s so much excitement, you can feel the energy everywhere you go,” said sophomore diver Britni Fisher, who along with freshmen Lauren Wismer and Tessa Adams, qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships.

On several occasions, the team has had to travel to two different cities in two days for meets; however, Novitsky feels that a large meet like this is even harder on the athletes.

“Three days in one place is much harder, no question,” Novitsky said. “But they hung tough and learned how to come back and recover.”

After the first day of competition, where only the 800 freestyle relay and the 1650 freestyle were swum, the Illini fell to seventh place.

“Because it’s the first event, you never really know what’s going to happen,” Novitsky said. “They kind of took themselves out of the event because they over analyzed and looked at the final times.”

After taking their annual training trip to Florida at the end of December and beginning of January, the team will not compete again until Jan. 16.

“(The break) is a good opportunity for us to bump back up their endurance and the intensity we train at,” Novitsky said. “We’re still waiting, as an entire team, to put together that one meet where everything clicks.”