Swim teams looking to go fast at Valparaiso

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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The Eastern men’s and women’s swim team has been swimming fast all year, but coach Jacqueline Michalski has been training them to go faster on Saturday at Valparaiso.

The Panthers will travel to Valparaiso with a chance to finish the season sweep of the Crusaders. The men were victorious earlier in the year in Padovan Pool, winning by a score of 120-85. The women won 125-69.

Michalski said the team is faster now than it was when they first swam against Valparaiso Nov. 7.

“The first half of the year is endurance based and now it’s speed,” Michalski said. “(Thursday morning) at six o’clock in the morning I’m asking them to get up and go fast.”

At Tuesday’s practice, everyone who was in the pool was swimming at an all-out pace and going fast, Michalski said.

“(Assistant coach Meghan Cotugno and I) looked over and there were splashes and speed in every single lane and red faces all over the place,” Michalski said.

The Panthers have been focusing mostly on their turns and starts to get them going fast. They will also put on weighted belts and have to swim fast with them on.

Freshman Lauren Oostman has had a strong first year as a Panther finishing in first place in multiple events, and she has been training this week to go even faster.

“I’ve been focusing a lot on technique lately and getting in the habit of having good technique, especially for the events I will be competing with for conference,” Oostman said. “But I’ve also been focusing on racing the people around me and trying to stay up with people faster than me because that’s what motivates me to train that much harder.”

As it happens in swimming, teams are not always at full capacity, and the women will not be at full capacity heading into the meet.

When Eastern and Valparaiso compete, the meets are usually close and with the women being shorthanded, it might pose some difficulty.

With how fast they are swimming lately, however, Michalski said they should be OK.

The women are coming in off a pair of wins against Western and Butler last weekend in Padovan Pool. The men fell to Western last weekend, but they have been swimming fast this week in practice as well.

“When I think a meet is going to be close, if they come ready to race mentally and ready to fight for the win, then we should be able to win,” Michalski said.

The Panthers and Crusaders will be swimming the 100 and 200-yard events, a 400-yard exhibition individual medley. They will be swimming the 1000-yard and 500-yard distance events.

As conference nears, the swimmers will be swimming their conference events for the most part. Michalski said there is the option for some of the swimmers to swim an event they want to practice one more time or take a break from swimming an event they have swam a lot, as long as they still have the chance to win.

The Panthers have already defeated Valparaiso once this year at home, and swimming on the road will not be much different.

For some swimmers, swimming in a different pool has an effect, but Michalski said for her personally it did not make much of a difference and a ‘‘pool is a pool and a lane is a lane.”

On the road or at home, the rivalry between the two schools still stands.

“I’m very excited to get to compete against them again because I always love a good rivalry,” Oostman said. “It should be a fun meet for us.”


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