Swim teams pleased with Florida training trip

Lucas Aulbach

Training under the Florida sun seems to have helped the WKU swimming and diving teams grow over the break.

The men’s and women’s teams were in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., from Jan. 5-19 to train, Head Coach Bruce Marchionda said.

Marchionda described the teams’ performances as “phenomenal.”

“So many (swimmers) did a great job,” he said.  “This was one of the best camps in years.”

Marchionda, who was recently recognized as a Coach of Excellence in 2010 by the American Swimming Coaches Association, also credited the good weather in making workouts more pleasurable. 

Temperatures in Ft. Lauderdale hovered in the 70s throughout the two weeks.

Senior Claire Donahue has gone to Florida with the team each of the past four years and said this year’s camp was one of the best she’s been to.

“This was definitely one of our most successful trips,” she said. “Everyone put a lot of effort into the training.”

The teams were also in competition in Florida. Both teams won the scheduled meet with Indian River State College, located in central Florida, on Jan. 15. 

Indian River State has one of the most successful swimming and diving programs in the country, with the men’s team winning 36 consecutive National Junior College Athletic Association swimming championships. The women’s team has also won 29 championships in a row.

Donahue said the teams faced many challenges against Indian River State, including fatigue.

“We were pretty tired at the meet,” she said.  “It was a good mental challenge.”

WKU senior Nick Slattery said he was pleased with the teams’ performances.

“We came back in good shape,” he said.  “We’re definitely making big strides.”

Slattery said that despite the weather, the training was still some of the most difficult the teams are likely to face this year.

“It’s a long trip and it can be very stressful — mentally and physically,” he said.

Donahue agreed with Slattery that the training can be a challenge.

“All of the workouts were pretty intense,” she said. “We had a lot of little things to improve.”

Marchionda said that the teams practiced several techniques while in Florida, including finishes and fast starts.

“I’d say I’m very pleased with where we are at this point,” he said. 

The teams have one more competition before the Sun Belt Conference championships at the end of February.

The next meet will be at home Saturday against Southern Illinois at the Powell Natatorium in the Preston Center.