Swimming and diving aims to follow record-breaking season

Madeline Billeaud, Contributing Reporter

Following a record-breaking 2015-16 season finish, the Tulane women’s swimming and diving team is gearing up for the Oct. 14 start to their season. 

With a competitive schedule and a roster full of talented swimmers, the team has high hopes for themselves this year.  

Last February, the Green Wave women’s swimming and diving team placed second in the American Athletic Conference Championship. During the conference meet, nine individual swimmers medaled and the team broke school records 18 times. The team is looking to chase that success this season as well. 

“Our goal this season is to be as competitive as possible within our conference,” head coach Katie Robinson said. “We look to be on top.” 

Swimming and diving will have plenty of opportunities to prepare for this end goal. Its regular season schedule consists of six meets, including two home meets, and the Phill Hansel Invitational, which will be held Nov. 18-20 in Houston. Coach Robinson believes that the Phill Hansel Invitational is an opportunity for the team to gauge its readiness for the conference meet. 

“[The Phill Hansel Invitational] is a great meet for us because it’s a good snapshot of where we are at that point in the season,” Robinson said. “And also, I think that it’s a good dress rehearsal for conference because it’s the same order of events that conference will have.”

In addition to normal competitors Rice, LSU, SMU and Houston, the team also added three new teams to the schedule: Florida International University, Denver University and University of Alabama. Coach Robinson thinks swimming against these teams will help prepare the team for conference as well. 

One of Tulane swimming’s greatest strengths is that there’s not one single athlete it is depending on to carry the team to victory. Instead, every swimmer brings their own skills to the group in order to form a talented and diverse whole. 

Senior Ellie Sills is one of these athletes. Sills set the school record for the 100 fly at last year’s Phill Hansel Invitational with a time of 54.89, and set personal records during the conference championships for the 200 fly and 200 individual medley. 

“Our team has really grown in that area,” Robinson said. “We’re not relying on the same people to win events. We actually have a great diversity on our team of who’s going to step up and win, so I really think there’s a lot of athletes to keep our eyes on.”

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