Swimming and diving struggles with teamwork

Clara Harrington, Sports Editor [email protected]

This weekend, the women’s swimming and diving team (0-4, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) will head to Houston, Texas, to compete in the Phill Hansel Invite.

The 2016 season set high standards for the swimmers after the team finished in second place at the AAC championships. Four of the 10 members swam for the 2016 AAC swimming and diving all-conference team: sophomore Natalie Clausen, junior Emma Lincoln, junior Kaitlin Simpson and sophomore Paris Zhang.

Though many see swimming as an individual sport, the team is not overly reliant on any one member. Head coach Katie Robinson believes that what differentiates Tulane’s program from others is the cohesiveness and depth that the team has.

“The great thing about our team is that we have the depth on our team that is very, very strong,” Robinson said. “I think that we’re going to rely on everybody to step up. That’s one of the things that I think is different about our team, is that everyone is a strong contributor.”

The team opened its season with the Dual-a-Pool-Ooza event at Rice University in Houston, where Tulane swam against Florida International University, the University of Denver and Rice in three dual meets. Despite the team’s stellar performance closing last year’s season, the Green Wave lost to all three teams.

Three weeks later, Tulane traveled back to Texas to compete in a dual meet against SMU. The team began the day with strong performances in the 1000-meter freestyle, with freshmen Morgan Tacik and Olivia Johnson finishing first (10:17.71) and second (10:26.19), respectively. Despite record-breaking swims for the Green Wave, the team was unable to come back and win after falling behind the Mustangs through seven events.

The team’s loss in the past meet can be attributed to the exhaustion of the swimmers. The meet’s results showed that the women were at the right place physically for that point in the season and that they can now build on their training as they continue with their meets.

“The main takeaways are that we have been training extremely hard and their bodies are just really exhausted,” Robinson said. “Now, with a few lighter days leading up to this meet, we should see some peak performances.”

Tulane’s swimming and diving team has historically impressed in the Phill Hansel Invite. Last year, the team placed second with a total score of 877 to winner Rice’s 1237.

This year’s invite will be particularly competitive, both with the return of previous teams and the introduction of new participants into the pool. Among the tough competitors this weekend are Colorado State University, Rice, the University of New Mexico, the University of Houston and Vanderbilt University.

“There are a few different teams that are going to be here this year versus who was there last year; in fact, I think it’s going to be more competitive than it was last year,” Robinson said. “Last year, we finished second overall and I think we have a really good shot at being in the top five.”

The Phill Hansel invite will take place from Friday, Nov. 18 through Sunday, Nov. 20 at the University of Houston.

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