By KATELYN MASSARELLI
It’s the beginning of October and for UT’s men’s and women’s swim team, that means gearing up for the start of the 2016-2017 competition season. To prepare, both teams split into a red and yellow team to compete amongst each other during the team’s intrasquad meet on Oct. 1, over parents weekend. The red team took the win.
The meet allows the swimmers to see the progress they have made and what they need to work on before the first meet of the season. This time around, UT will be facing off against Florida Southern College (FSC) for the first meet of the season on Oct. 14.
“[The intrasquad meet] helps the whole team and coaches,” said junior intrasquad yellow team swimmer Brittany Bayes. “We’ll be able to use the next two weeks to improve. It’s always good to race and get a feel for where you are and what you need to work on.”
The last meet against FSC, men’s swimming fell short of a win with the final score of 143-119 and the women tied with a score 131. UT swimmers are interested to see how they will do against FSC and how the new swimmers from both teams will perform.
After the intrasquad meet, swimmers walked away with technical skills to improve upon before the first meet against the FSC Mocs.Men’s head coach Jimi Kiner was able to walk away with a better idea of what the team needs to work on fixing before facing off against other teams this season.
“There are spots we need to work on,” Kiner said. “We have two weeks before the Florida Southern meet, so the coaching staff will be going over the results and make the necessary adjustments and keep improving.”
Other than FSC, Nova Southeastern is a team UT swimmers anticipate to be another tough team to go against this season. Senior returning swimmer Martin Hammer is looking to redeem himself after coming up .06 seconds short of second place against a Nova Southeastern swimmer in the 50 Freestyle at Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Championships last season.
According to Hammer, he’ll be working towards improving the tiniest details in technique to ensure his success this season.
When asked about his and the team’s performance at the intrasquad meet as a yellow team member, Hammer said, “The meet went well, I’m happy with my times and where I ended up,” Hammer said about the intrasquad meet. He was on the yellow team “[Team wise] I think we did great and it was a great practice for freshmen.”
This season, UT’s swimming program introduced many new swimmers to the roster. The intrasquad meet is a chance for these swimmers to compete against returning swimmers and see the differences from high school competing.
“There was a lot of friendly competition [at the intrasquad meet],” freshman red team swimmer Aubrey Hilborn said. “My old high school team was never like this, UT is much different and a lot more mature.”
According to senior returning swimmer Marisa Barton, who swam on the red team, the freshmen were impressive to watch. According to Barton, the meet was a fun way to measure the team and individual performances, and also bond together. Come time for the FSC meet, Barton is prepared to compete.
“I’m going to have to get into it mentally,” Barton said. “You have to be in the right mindset to go out there and destroy.”
Barton is looking to get back on the podium at Nationals and work towards getting a qualifying women’s relay team there in her final season as a Spartan swimmer.
Coming away from the intrasquad meet, UT’s swim team will work to make adjustments in technique and keep improving as the season goes on. For freshman swimmer Torey Brierly, the intrasquad meet was chance for her to not only compete as a college swimmer, but enjoy the comradery of the team.
“Meets like these show everybody how much love there is and how even though we are in different [intrasquad] teams everyone is still there for each other.”
The men and women swim teams 2016-2017 schedule can be found online at tampaspartans.com
Katelyn Massarelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org