At a university where an emphasis is put on the men’s ice hockey team for the winter season, the Lakers swimming and diving team has swam under the radar. The 2009-10 season looked promising due to a strong finish and the loss of only two seniors last year.
The team came in with the same goals as years past: go to the SUNYAC Championship and compete to the best of their ability.
"Everything before the SUNYAC tournament is just training. We want everyone to be the best that they can be," head coach Mike Holman said.
Part of being the best you can be comes from the support of other teammates. The goal of the swimmers and divers is to have fun and be supportive. It is very draining for everyone. The support of a teammate can help when you are tired and discouraged, senior captain Eileen McMahon said.
"We wouldn’t be where we are with out having fun," McMahon said. "Having fun is what makes us so good."
Their methods seem to be paying off.
The men are 5-3 and the women are 6-2 in head-to-head meets, with their only big losses to SUNY Geneseo and SUNY Cortland. These meets with rivals are important and that preparation begins long before hitting the pool.
Getting ready for big meets begins in the locker room. Everyone meets in the locker room beforehand and the coaches give an inspirational pep talk. From there, it is up to the upper classmen to get everyone ready. Whether that is giving a speech in the locker room or encouraging people as they get ready for a race or dive.
The younger Lakers have stepped up as well, forecasting a bright future. The team will lose 15 seniors, so they will be looked on to fill some vital roles and continue traditions. Many of these younger members will try to prove themselves this weekend at the Oswego State Diving Invitational.
Because the team can’t take every member of the team to the SUNYAC tournament, this invitational is a way for the younger members to showcase their talent.
As the season winds down for the Lakers, they are looking forward to the SUNYAC tournament.
"All season we train hard and we start to rest more now," said senior captain Greg Donohue. They will need to rest as they hope to get revenge on their close competitors Geneseo and Cortland.
The tournament should not be that different than most parts of the Lakers’ practices and meets: have fun, encourage each other, and work hard.
"We want them to lay it all on the line," Holman said.
After the tournament is all said and done, a few of the Lakers will be looking for a call to nationals.
"Our conference is one of the best for NCAA Division III diving," said diving coach John Moore.
At this point all they can do is try and get another good video to submit and hope for the best, he said.
"They all have the potential to get there," Holman said when asked about the team members looking for a bid to nationals. "We look at the SUNYAC as the final point in the season and anything beyond that is an added bonus."