Early morning practices, afternoon practices and working to perfect their strokes becomes the daily lives of California Baptist
University men’s and women’s swim and dive team as it prepares for the 2012- 2013 season.
Members of the swimming and diving team participate in at least 20 hours of practice per week, collectively competing in back- stroke, breaststroke, free- style, butterfly and diving.
Swim and dive is a team that is characterized by its dense numbers, strong leaders are an essential asset for creating a successful team dynamic, said Rick Rowland, head coach of men’s and women’s swim and dive.
“(As a captain) you’re the link between the coach and the swimmers,” said Natalie Heihn, senior swim captain and kinesiology major. “If there is a problem within the team you go to the captains first and if the captains can’t sort it out then it goes to the coach. It is a different level of authority on the team. It makes the coach’s job easier and you take on duties such as giving the freshman responsibilities and making room lists for away swim meets.”
Unlike most sports, swimming is focused on particular swim meets and advancing as many swimmers as possible into the finals, at meets such as winter invitationals and the conference meet in the spring.
Rowland said he is looking forward to being sanctioned in National Collegiate Athletic Association competition next year.
“It was really fun competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, especially because we won nationals in the 2010-2011 season,” Rowland said. “We also have some good competition like Grand Canyon, San Diego State and Simon Frasier University. Until we are in the NCAA conference, we have some top swimmers red-shirting so we have a core group next season.”
CBU swim is approaching a year of transition, with the women’s team only half the size it was last year, and experiencing a large influx of swimmers on the men’s side.
“We have lost some good sprinters such as Chris Toy and we are currently look- ing at some versatile returners and newcomers to continue winning us meets in the races we need the most swimmers in right now,” said Matt Chong, senior kinesiology major and breaststroker. “The women’s team has been significantly reduced but the men’s team has grown substantially.”
With a roster full of new faces, both the men’s and women’s teams have obtained new freshman who have been a big help to the team.
The freshmen’s positive attitudes amidst their “freshman dirty work” has made the leadership’s job a little lighter, said Heihn.
“Girls have left for various reasons,” Heihn said. “So we’ve had a large outgoing group and a small incoming group. It’s really weird, but the freshmen this year are awesome. They’re open to learning everything they need do – getting water, putting in lines and taking out lines. They don’t even complain; it’s awesome.”
Outside the water, the swimmers are still putting their leadership skills to use on different parts of campus.
“There are a lot of great kids on our team,” Rowland said. “They’re well-balanced student athletes who also hold leadership positions with Community Life and Residence Life.”
You can next see the Lancers splash their way through the competition at home for the CBU Diving Invite on Oct. 20.
The Lancers have competed in one event so far this year, the Pacific Coast Swim Conference relay, pentathlon and diving Invite which took place Oct. 12-13.
The men placed second and the women placed fourth in both the relays and pentathlon/diving competition.