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The Scarlet & Black

Swim and dive sharpen abilities ahead of conference championships

Cory Hall
Sophia Carrol `25 dashes down the lane during the Grinnell Triangular Meet. Contributed by Ted Schultz.

Last Saturday, Feb. 5, Grinnell College swim and dive hosted club teams from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Iowa State University at the Grinnell Triangular meet in the Bear Athletic Center. Unlike the majority of swim events, this meet did not keep track of a team score and no points were allotted to higher place finishes. Still, multiple from the Grinnell College Women’s swim team recorded the fastest time in their respective events. Olivia Pluska `25 recorded a time of 5:38:49 in the 500 yard freestyle and Enya Gamble `22 finished the 200 Yard Backstroke with a time of 2:21.83 earning both swimmers the first place in their events, not to mention their other top-finishes.

Despite the relaxed setting to wrap up the regular season, this mellow competition between swimmers was extremely beneficial for both players and coaches to assess how far they have progressed right before the Midwest Conference Championships (MWC) next week. “I think the purpose of that meet is to kind of like gauge where people are at in this point in the season, like coming off of our training trip. But we’ve started to rest a little bit. So it’s like a good point in the season for Erin [head coach Erin Hurley] to take in where people are doing well, and maybe kind of use that when she’s considering her conference lineup and making decisions,” said Gamble. 

The conference line-up that Gamble mentioned is the swim and dive roster that will represent the Grinnell College women’s and men’s team at MWC. While the list of Grinnell competitors is limited to 18-point scorers, an additional seven will be swimming exhibition. Gamble and Pluska are just a couple of students who will be representing the women’s swim and dive team.  

Pluska described the mental preparation for her team: “For like the last three practices we visualize our races, close our eyes, you know, and Erin takes us through visualizations: you walk on deck, you warm up, and just kind of like, try to put yourself in that situation. And, you know, it’s just kind of like mental preparedness. Because a lot of the sport is very mental,” said Pluska.   

While Gamble may be more accustomed to the mental preparation in her fourth season with the team, she recalls Hurley’s “magic tapering.” The process of tapering is the phase in swim season prior to major competition that incrementally reduces overall swim yardage in workouts and emphasizes rest. “Our practices are less yards, but we’re doing a lot of like fast work. So, we’re practicing technique and moving quickly through the water, but not doing as many yards so we’re trying to rest our bodies so that we can race faster,” said Gamble.  

The Midwest Conference Championships will be held in Grinnell at the Bear Athletic Center and will span three days from Friday, Feb. 18 to Sunday, Feb. 20. Each day of competition will start at 10 a.m. and go until 7 p.m.. Coach Hurley mentioned the benefit of having the last competitions of the season at home” “swimming in your home pool, I think is always fun and you get to have your friends see you swim and dive as well. Doesn’t mean you always get the best sleep, but nor do you in a hotel room. Depends what’s going on Friday and Saturday night, but you know, they’ll do everything they can to get as good a sleep as they can get those two nights.”  

Editor’s note: Olivia Pluska is a staff writer for the S&B. 

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