Swimmers anticipate Florida winter

Lucas Aulbach

With another win for the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams on Saturday, the teams can now focus on the future.

And more specifically, their winter break trip to Florida.

The Toppers and Lady Toppers are traveling to the Fort Lauderdale area for two weeks during winter break to train outdoors for the upcoming Sun Belt Conference Championship in February.

“Hopefully Florida will be a little warmer than it was last year,” junior Chelsea Larsen said.

Last winter during the trip, the temperature in Florida dropped to 39 degrees.

Saturday’s meet against Evansville, which took place in the Bill Powell Natatorium at the Preston Center, resulted in a 163-94 win for WKU’s men’s team and a 164-111 victory for the women’s team.

Neither squad has lost since Oct. 16, the first meet of the season against South Carolina.

Before Saturday’s meet, Head Coach Bruce Marchionda said the teams were planning on using new strategies during the meet, including starting the race faster, kicking more underwater and using different swimmers in different events.

The adjustments worked. WKU put together dominating performances, winning all but six of the 30 events.

Junior Chris Housden was one of the meet’s top performers, winning the 100-yard butterfly and 200-yard backstroke races. He also competed in the freestyle relay with other members of the team.

“Any time we can notch a win like this, especially at a dual meet, is important,” Housden said.

Larsen was also pleased with the results.

“This meet is usually a good indicator of where the team is right now,” she said.

After the meet, Marchionda, who called the win a “step in the process toward a conference championship,” applauded the teams for their aggressiveness on Saturday and encouraged them to keep their momentum.

“Each race is an opportunity to learn and get better,” he told the swimmers after the race. “What we do on the winter training trip is going to be huge.”

Marchionda said the teams will continue to experiment with different strategies during their trip to Florida. Winter training is considered by the teams to be the hardest practice of the year.

“The change of setting should help us all keep our minds on the training,” Housden said.

Housden said he’s been working on his underwater kicks and plans to continue to improve over the break. The teams will face Indian River State College next in Florida during the break.

Larsen said she’s anticipating it all.

“Right now, we’re going to train for two weeks, go home, and then it’s time for winter training,” she said.