Team prepares as conference meet draws near

It all boils down to the conference championships, the head coach for the swimming and diving teams said.

The men’s team finished its regular season Friday with a loss to SMU, the No. 24-ranked team in the College Swim Coaches Association of America Poll, and the women finished regular season conference play with a win against the University of New Mexico.

The women still have one more meet next Wednesday against the University of North Texas, but the Mountain West Conference Championships are on the way, and the team feels it is ready.

Head coach Richard Sybesma said the championships have everything to do with mental preparation.

Freshman backstroke and freestyle swimmer Brittney Martinez said the team is prepared and finishing conference meets with a win is a great boost for the team.

“This meet went well, but I think we’re going to do better in conference,” Martinez said.

Last season both the women’s and men’s teams finished sixth in the conference championships and look to improve this year.

The teams have both had shaky conference seasons, with the men going 2-3 and the women finishing 2-6, but both seem to be swimming in stride at the right time.

The women won the final conference meet Saturday and the men finished with a win against the University of Utah.

Sybesma said his seniors have been swimming well and their leadership will be a big advantage to the younger swimmers.

TCU will have a lot of time for preparation because the championships don’t start until Feb. 26.

The team has a strong bond, with swimmers performing for their teammates, freshman freestyle and fly swimmer Mychala Lynch said.

Even though the meet is a little less then a month away, Lynch said her teammates’ performances are a stimulant for her to perform her best.

“If my teammates are doing well its more of a push for me,” Lynch said.

Many of Lynch’s teammates have been hot all season and have seen improved times and scores in the last few meets.

Diver R.J. Hesselberg has dominated, taking seven diver of the week honors this season, a Mountain West Conference record.

Distance swimmers Keilah Walker and Maria Alvarez took a combined three first place finishes in their meet against New Mexico.

Alvarez, a freshman, is really starting to heat up, setting personal bests in both of her first place events.

Sybesma said it is great to see swimmers setting personal bests and performing well near the end of the season.

Martinez said winning is great, but she swims for her teammates.

“I need to do this for my team,” Martinez said.