Eastern swim teams back after long break

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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It has been over a month since the last time the Eastern men’s and women’s swim teams swam competitively. The last time the Panthers were in the pool was back on Dec. 4 when they hosted Saint Louis.

The Panthers are back in Padovan Pool to host Western and Butler. The women will swim against both schools while the men will only swim against Western.

Even though the Panthers have been off for more than a month, coach Jacqueline Michalski said she is happy with where the team is at heading into the final stretch of meets.

“Everyone is excited for it,” Michalski said. “Sometimes with swimming, taking a step back form competition kind of makes you want to compete more because you haven’t done it in a while. So I think that break was kind of good for us, mentally.”

The women were able to come away with a win against Western earlier in the season at the Illinois invitational. The men were not able to come away with a win though. The women lost to Butler last season, 126-77.

With Western and Eastern both being schools in Illinois, a rivalry has developed and has increased since the women beat the Leathernecks earlier this year.

“We’re always kind of a rival with Western,” Michalski said. “Our women at the beginning of the season, we beat them and our men were not quite there but we also weren’t up to par yet but I think we are up to par. I think if we have everyone in the right mindset, I think we can take down Western. At the end of the day it comes down to them and their mind set approaching the meet.”

Even though the Panthers have been off competitively for a while, the team still trains 20 hours a week, and the team even trained over break as well.

Michalski said this is the time of the season where they start really focusing each meet and preparing for the end of the season conference meet. She added that the team has even surpassed where she thought they should be at this point in the season.

“We only have six weeks left and they really focus a lot more than ever before,” she said. “So it’s like a new level, new intensity, they really come in with a different mindset and wanting to train and that’s what really makes a difference from first semester to second semester.”

The teams will be swimming in the short events this weekend. They will be swimming the 100-yard stroke events, the 200-yard relays.

Since it is a double dual on the women’s side, they will have a scoring heat and an exhibition heat so they can get all the swims in that they need. Meaning one will count, and one will not. If they didn’t do this, they would have a limited group swimming.

The Panthers hope to build off the strong first half of the season where they were able to swim faster times than they have before as a team. It also consisted of many personal lifetime bests.

The meet will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday at the Padovan Pool.

 

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