Swimming & Diving: Team gains experience, ready for five-team home meet

The first long meet of the season left some room for improvement for head coach Richard Sybesma’s swimmers after the teams’ performances at Colorado State last weekend.”We need to get a little bit stronger and better conditioned as a whole team,” Sybesma said.

One of the factors affecting the swimmers was the change in altitude, and for freshman-heavy squads, the thinner air did have an impact during the three days of competition. The combination of altitude and the lengthy meet took its toll on the swimmers by the end of the weekend, Sybesma said.

Last season, the women’s team had about three months to prepare for a three-day meet, but this season, the team was thrown into at-length competition much earlier.

There was a silver lining for the team during the CSU competition in the form of senior Jonathon Berrettini and freshman Nikki Pappas. Berrettini won two events during the two days of men’s competition, and Pappas took third place in the 50-yard freestyle.

Berrettini said he credited his performance to the training he had during the offseason.

“The workouts helped tremendously,” Berrettini said. “This summer was important to how this year would turn out.”

He took first place in both the 100-yard backstroke and the 50-freestyle.

The summer workouts have been paying off for the swimmers so far this season, Sybesma said.

Pappas said even with her performance in Colorado, she still wants to work on improving some of her racing skills.

“I need to keep swimming and working on stronger finishes now that I am no longer at altitude,” Pappas said.

When the teams return to the University Recreation Center for a meet Friday against four other teams, it will be another chance for the teams to gain experience. The team to beat for the women’s squad will be Northern Arizona, Sybesma said.

“This weekend, Northern Arizona will be tough and our women will have their hands full,” Sybesma said.

Other schools competing with both the men’s and women’s teams are Centenary, UT-Permian Basin and Incarnate Word.

“I’m looking forward to getting to competing in some events I don’t normally get to swim in, like the 200-free,” Berrettini said.