While most student were away on spring break, the UT men’s and women’s swim teams were winning SSC Championships.
The men’s and women’s team used commanding leads over the first two days of competition to bring two SSC Championships back to UT.
Leading by over 300 points heading into the final day, the men’s team (997.5) finished over 400 points ahead of their host, Rollins College (562.5). The women’s team (995.5) finished 345 points ahead of Rollins (650.5).
The swim teams joined the women’s basketball team which also won the SSC Championship over the weekend.
After countless hours of training, the University of Tampa swim team proved how hard they’ve worked this season.
Practice started the first day of school in August. The majority of the team’s season ended this weekend, but for others who made a national qualifying time it means a couple more weeks of preparation for the NCAA championships in Buffalo, New York.
Most people don’t understand how hard the swim team works.
Their typical day usually starts at 6:30a.m. when their alarm annoyingly sounds as a reminder that they’re not only about to jump into ice cold water, but they also have a rough work out. They routinely do this hours before most college students struggle to wake up for class.
That’s only the beginning of the day. They also have classes all day followed by another two hour practice and then homework and studying.
Then they do it again the next day, and almost everyday from September to March.
Spending this much time swimming together allows the team to get to know each other pretty well.
That’s when all the hard work pays off.
As the season comes to an end, the UT swim team had high expectations for the Sunshine State Conference meet this weekend.
They were 100 percent confident that they will dominate the other teams.
Winning two SSC championships justified their confidence.
“We are pretty much going to win,” said assistant coach Jimi Kiner before the match. “Unless something drastic happens, like we don’t ever make it to the meet.”
There was not a whole lot of competition for UT in the conference. “We’re just hoping for everyone to swim best times and for more swimmers to qualify for Nationals,” Kiner said. The team will be heading to nationals after leading the way in SSC competition.
Head coach, Ed Brennan, shared his words of wisdom for the swim meet.
“I told them all to go into the meet with the mind of the beginner. With so many freshmen it’s hard for the coaches to have that mindset, but there’s a lot to hope for. I’m more excited about this conference than I’ve been in years. There’s lots of opportunity,” said Brennan.
Ryan Reyes, a senior at UT, is beginning to realize that he’s about to end his 16-year career.
Reyes wanted to make his last season a memorable one by breaking a UT swimming record.
He now holds the record for getting kicked out or not being able to swim at the most meets in one season. Talk about going out with a bang.
“Only one of them was for attendance, one was for getting in the water 10 seconds late for warm-ups, one was for an injured heel, and then there was the one that was for a butt crack violation.” Reyes said.
This is a serious rule for the Spartan swimmers. Coach Brennan has no tolerance for crack on the pool deck.
“I’m going to miss the fun practices and the close bond I have with the team, and the female admirers that hang out at the pool,” Reyes said. “It’s the last meet and the end of my career, unless I make Nationals.”
Before the SSC Championships, five members of the swim team were moving on to Nationals. The number should increase given their performance in Orlando.
Jessie Bardin, Diana Mielke, and Meghan Mulbarger will all be representing Tampa by swimming individual events as well as relays.
The three of them will be on all the relays. The fourth spot was up for grabs, but Madison Flake won the spot when she won the 200-meter freestyle (1:56.45).
Tyler Furrer, a freshman, was the only male Spartan going to nationals before the SSC Championships began. Furrer won the 200-meter freestyle (1:42.57) at the SCC Championships.
Coach Brennan has a positive outlook on the team. There’s a good chance that the number of swimmers going to nationals will multiply. “We just have to get to Nationals first,” Brennan says.
After winning at the SSC championships, the Spartans will prepare for the NCAA Championships in Buffalo, New York on March 14-17.