Swim teams prepare for conference meet

Sean Hastings, Staff reporter

The Eastern men’s and women’s swim teams head into the Summit League Swimming & Diving

Bridgette Bowen, junior psychology major, performs a freestyle stroke for the women's EIU swim team.
Jordan Gay
Bridgette Bowen, junior psychology major, performs a freestyle stroke for the women’s EIU swim team.

Championships at Indiana-Purdue University at Indianapolis with records of 1-8 and 3-7, respectively.

The Panthers will also all be healthy and ready to swim in the meet, which was not the case throughout the season.

The teams dealt with injuries and sicknesses that seemed to just never go away.

Leading up to conference the Panthers have tapered down and practices have become easier. The practices have been having more detail oriented.

All season long this has been what the Panthers have been preparing for.

They wouldn’t focus too much on winning the meets throughout the year but focus more on just getting faster and improving times every time they got in the water.

The meets will stretch from Wednesday through Saturday and each day will have different events.

On Wednesday, the races that will be swum will only be relays. On Thursday they will swim 500-yard freestyle, 200 individual medley and the 50 freestyle.

On Friday, they will be swimming in 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, and the 200 freestyle along with the 400 individual medley. On Saturday, they will swim the 200 backstroke, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, the mile and the 100 freestyle.

Every team swimming this weekend is very talented, but the Panthers are just focused on themselves.

“All of the schools are tough in their own matter,” coach Jacqueline Michalski said. “We really go into conference just focusing on us and making ourselves as fast as possible.”

Each swimmer will swim in three individual races, and the top swimmers will swim in the relays. Also, each swimmer can swim up to four relays out of a total of five.

There are a total of 14 combined freshman swimmers on the rosters that will be competing in their first collegiate conference meet.

Despite so many young swimmers, Michalski feels good about the freshman heading in and said they are handling it well.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for them, because they don’t fully know what to expect,” Michalski said. “Sometimes when you don’t have expectations you actually just go, and you’ll go faster than you ever will because you’re not putting pressure on yourself.”

Freshman Amy Smith said she is nervous, but it is a “nervous excitement.”

“I am just trying to stay relaxed and have fun because I know it will be a great weekend,” she said. “I am confident in how I have been swimming so just need to keep my head straight and not worry too much.”

But for seniors Nikki Peck and Katie VanHootegem, this is their fourth time through. They know what goes on and can help the freshman better prepare.

“They’ve been great mentors,” Michalski said. “They’ve always kind of stepped up and help give words of wisdom.”

Smith said Peck and VanHootegem have been trying to get them excited and keep reminding them to be confident because they have put in all the work all season and to have fun.

This will be the final time the Panthers will be in the pool this season. For Peck and VanHootegem, it is their final time swimming as a Panther. Everyone will look to go out on a strong note.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].