Diving In With Dani Milligan

Nov. 15, 2010

This month the Bruin Swim and Dive team has been training hard and competing even harder. We now have had eight dual meets under our belts with a record of 7-1, what a great way to start the season! Racing Loyola Marymount, UC Davis, Oregon State, UC Santa Barbara, Idaho, and San Diego got the team acclimated to the fast- paced style of dual meets. Each of these meets were learning and bonding experiences for our team, and I feel that we have now set the standard for what the rest of the season is going to look like. This team is dedicated, strong, and extremely motivated to make each race better then the last one!

Cyndi and Kelli are training and pushing us with some challenging sets that have us focus on detail and race strategy while swimming fast. All of the girls have made some great changes whether in their racing strategies, kicking 15 meters off the walls, or in the attitude they bring to the pool. Watching videos from the meets has helped everyone find technique improvements to work on at practices. I know we are so thankful to have video tape from all our meets and coaches that are willing to spend time going over it with us. On Tuesday afternoons the whole team does a dry land circuit that has us working on sprinting hills, sprinting miles, doing karate style abs, and then getting in the pool to work on power. I know that the whole team is sorer after Tuesdays then any other day, but the sprint work has definitely helped everyone gain some power and improvement in their fast twitch muscles!

This past weekend our team faced our hardest competition yet with the Arizona dual meets. On Friday afternoon the team faced the Arizona State Sun Devils in a challenging meet. All of the girls got behind everyone that was swimming, cheering behind blocks and on the bulkhead to bring home our seventh victory of the season. The energy on deck and support in the stands made for a great dual, and made the whole team realize how important it is to come out fighting for each and every race from start to finish. On Saturday the team went to our traditional team breakfast at Jerry's Deli in Westwood to prepare for our meet against The University of Arizona Wildcats. The team was quiet, but it was a tangibly motivated and focused quiet. I know that everyone was ready to go out and swim faster and harder then the previous day to show the Wildcats they were in Bruin territory. The meet was probably the quickest meet the team has had this season, but everyone rose to the occasion swimming strong and smart. I am so proud of so many people putting their head down and getting their hand on the wall first. We made a point this weekend to show the other teams that we want it more and to get our hand on the wall and I think we definitely accomplished that. Across both days there were many season bests, lifetime-bests, NCAA B cuts, and broken meet records. We posted a win against ASU and gave the best fight we have given in a long time against U of A.

One of the most surprising things to happen at our meets was the addition of a new Bruin fan. During our University of Arizona meet Tom spotted a male swimmer in one of our warm down lanes! The Bruins are an all girls team, U of A did not bring their men's team, and there were was only one male diver so a man in the pool was not acceptable. Instead of immediately kicking this male imposter out of our pool, Tom asked Lauren Hall who the man was. Lauren simply replied that it was just Michael Phelps, no big deal. Only at Spieker Aquatics Center will amazing Olympic swimmers stop by to swim in our warm down lanes during a meet. All the girls were more than willing to share the lane, and I think we were all hoping that he would hop in our tie dye racing suit and swim for the Bruins. Sadly, this did not happen but we still gained a fan for a few events! The team is staying focused and working hard to keep the momentum going for our next two meets, the Arena Invitational and the Texas Invitational. I know that we will all miss swimming at Spieker Aquatics Center in front of all our hometown fans, but we are ready and motivated to take our season on the road!

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Omaha, NE