By Steve Eggert
The Rider swim and dive teams made a splash in their tri-meet against LaSalle and Delaware, but were still unable to come away with a win. The team will put the recent loss on the backburner and focus its full attention towards the Big Al Open at Princeton on Dec. 2, in which they’ll compete against six other programs.
Despite last Saturday’s outcome, Head Coach Steve Fletcher was very pleased with how his team performed.
“At La Salle this past week, close to 80 percent of our team recorded a season best and a few record lifetime bests,” he said. “The scores don’t reflect how competitive this meet was. There were close races throughout. Three out of four relays that were contested were decided in less than eight-tenths of a second between the three schools.”
The men and women have time to rest and prepare before the Big Al Open, and Fletcher is making sure to use the time wisely.
“Going into the next three weeks, we need to commit as a group to working on details in practice in order to sharpen up our racing for the Big Al Open,” Fletcher said. “The coaches and team look for season-best performances at Princeton, and we are rarely disappointed.”
On the men’s side, junior Johnny Funk has goals he would like to see the team accomplish heading into the tournament.
“We have a talented group, but in order to perform to our potential, we need to be consistent with our performances,” Funk said. “Personally, I would like to help the breaststroke group stay focused and help them achieve their personal goals.”
For the women, junior Kelly O’Connor wants the team to perform well in the tournament and realizes that preparation will help set up a potential victory.
“These next couple weeks awaiting the Big Al open, we will be focusing on training extremely hard so we can perform very well,” O’Connor said.
Diving coach Eric Blevins sees these next couple of weeks as an opportunity for his divers to perfect their craft prior to the meet.
“Repetitions are going to be the key to their success at the meet,” he said. “If the divers can perform up to where they should be, they will be a major factor.”
Senior Brendan Cavallaro hopes the dive team can improve upon last year’s performance.
“This year, [sophomore] Trevor [Hiller] and I have increased our degree of difficulty and are diving a lot better than this time last year,” Cavallaro said. “I expect both of us to make finals on both boards this year and this will help the team tremendously in winning points for our overall total.”
Fletcher hopes that the team’s experience at the Big Al Open will be comparable to years past.
“Our performances in this meet over my 10 years at Rider have become a source of pride for all of our athletes,” he said.