As the regular season of swimming and diving nears an end, the men and women of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point look to finish strong and prepare to shift their attention onto the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship.
Both teams have fared well this season, according to head coach Al Boelk, who attributes much of its success to continued health and a focused mindset.
“It’s been a good year. We had a very good training in fall; we’ve stayed healthy and focused,” Boelk said. “We do a mid-year rest-and-shave meet which went about as good as it ever has… more best times and good swims than the average.”
Senior swimmers Brandon Richardson and Erica Perkins attribute much of this success to strong performances from the team’s new additions.
“We have a really strong group of incoming freshmen,” Richardson said. “They’ve responded to the challenge.”
Perkins agreed that the freshman have played an important role on the team.
“We’ve gotten a bunch of new freshmen to step up,” Perkins reiterated. “Especially in the bigger meets we’ve had.”
As the team looks ahead to the conference championship and potentially the national championship, they do so with a few goals in mind.
“We’re going to wrap up these next two meets and after that we have a conference meet where we’re trying to win for the 19th time,” Richardson said. “After that, we’re going to try to get some guys and girls to nationals.”
“We’re hoping to get third or higher at conference,” said Perkins.
Boelk believes that health will be a critical factor in determining the team’s postseason success.
“We have a couple of weeks back to back and then the conference meet. I hope we can stay healthy and stave off the flu epidemic,” Boelk said. “If we can stay doing what we’re doing, I think we’ll be pretty all right.”
Richardson and Perkins both stressed the importance of strength and conditioning workouts when discussing the team’s preparation for the conference meet.
“These next two weeks are crucial for lifting weights,” Richardson said. “Lifting and core work will be important to stay in shape.”
Boelk expects his team to be well prepared for the conference meet because they’ve been working for months already.
“Our season is long. We start in September. What we’ve been doing to set ourselves up in February is the systematic preparation that we’ve done for months,” Boelk said. “We just need to rest up and make sure we’re ready for February.”
The Pointers will conclude its regular season with one final meet against UW-Milwaukee on Feb. 2, before they travel to Brown Deer, WI., next month to compete in the conference championship.
The championship series kicks off on Feb. 15, and runs through Feb. 17.