WKU breaks nine pool records at Xavier

Nick Bratcher

WKU’s swimming and diving teams have been very adamant about goals to win another Sun Belt Conference Championship this season.

They took a step in the right direction last weekend.

WKU broke nine pool records on Saturday on its way to a men’s 110-89 victory and women’s 119-80 win against Xavier in Cincinnati.

The win was the third straight win for the men’s team and fourth straight for the women’s since both squads lost their respective season openers to South Carolina.

Sophomore Luke Musser, who grabbed three records of his own on Saturday, said the pool records were both a surprise and inspiration for the team.

“Naturally, the records were a big incentive to swim fast,” Musser said. “We didn’t realize we could get them until we arrived at the pool.”

Head Coach Bruce Marchionda said that when the teams arrived at Xavier, he realized a few pool records were in reach.

“We told them that we’re going up against a really good team, and even though we’re in our hardest part of training, we have something to prove — that we can get up and swim fast, even when we’re tired,” he said.

Marchionda also challenged his swimmers on a more personal level, acknowledging the long bus trip to Cincinnati.

“’Look, we just drove four hours on a bus, and now we’ve got to race,’” Marchionda said he told the team before Saturday’s meet. “’How you handle this situation is going to tell us a lot about your determination and drive.’”

Sophomore Hilary Mishler said a mixture of record-breaking aspirations and camaraderie combined as motivation to overcome any traveling fatigue.

“It’s very personal because you’re the one that actually gets the record and gets your name up on the board,” she said. “But it’s also team-oriented, because you couldn’t get there without all your teammates cheering you on and working with them in practice.”

“So, it’s personal in the way that it’s you getting up there, but the true purpose is for your team.”

Adding to Mishler’s statement, Marchionda agreed the two factors went hand in hand to produce the wins.

“It was a big motivational factor that if they knew they could go out and break pool records, then they could win events,” Marchionda said. “And if you win events, you’re going to win the meet.”

But even with the hype of record-breaking in the back of the swimmers’ minds, Musser said the team was definitely at the front.

“You’re really swimming for your brothers on the side of the pool,” he said. “I swim for the team first, because that’s really what it’s all about.”

Overall, Marchionda said the meet gave the Toppers confidence that their training is working and they’re swimming at their best. Next up for the swimming and diving teams is the Hilltopper Invite from Nov. 19 to Nov. 21.