By KRISTEL LANDER
The BYU men’s swim team may be diving into water over its head this weekend, but the Cougars hope to come out on top. BYU will split this weekend, with swimmers competing in Washington and divers competing in California.
Both opponents will give BYU a challenging weekend. The University of Washington beat Utah and UNLV already this season, and the USC Diving Invitational includes some of the best divers from the west coast.
“We need to be completely focused going into this meet. Everyone needs to have their head screwed on tight,” said swimmer Dewey Lucero. “We’ve put in the work necessary to swim well — now we just need to be confident.”
Head coach Tim Powers expects Washington to be a difficult meet for several reasons. First, Washington has eight more divers than BYU, which will spread thin BYU team members and make each BYU swimmer participate in four events. Second, Washington is swimming in their home pool, one of the best facilities in the country. Third, unlike BYU, Washington doesn’t have a diving team, so all their resources go to the swim team.
Powers said he chose to participate in this meet because those factors will lead to intense competition between the Huskies and BYU.
“The Washington meet will simulate what it will be like swimming in conference meets,” Powers said. “This weekend will be good training for conference.”
Losing to UNLV last week was tough training for the team, something it does not want to repeat this week. On Monday, Powers talked to the swim team and laid out what it needs to accomplish this season.
Powers put everything into perspective and made the team realize it need to step up a notch, assistant coach Ben Pickens said. Since then, the team has worked hard on not only swimming hard and fast, but also swimming sharp, Pickens said.
The team is becoming sharp in both body and mind. Lucero said being tired is a poor excuse for losing a meet. He firmly believes that in swimming, the mind can overpower the body.
“Swimming is totally a mind thing. If you’re in a race and you know you can beat the guy next to you, you do it,” Lucero said.
The mind game has apparently been working for the swim team — the Cougars have some of the top times in the Mountain West Conference so far this year. For example, team member Gary Tan currently boasts the conference-best time in the 200-back by over five seconds. Tan was named MWC male swimmer of the week on Wednesday.
The BYU divers also have no small reputation among the MWC teams. Powers said BYU has the best divers in the West. Powers said although the swimmers will miss the divers’ prolific points this weekend, the team knows the divers need to go against the tougher competition at USC.
“Our divers are diving maniacs,” Pickens said. “This invitational meet will give them a chance to dive against a plethora of the best divers in the west coast. The caliber of divers at this meet is similar to the divers who will be in the NCAA meets.”
The caliber of the BYU divers is exemplified by Devan Porter. The senior diver has a back injury he fights constantly, but that doesn’t keep him from diving. Porter brings in the points at meets no matter what, Pickens said.
Freshman Scott Randall is another stellar diver. Diving in the second collegiate meet of his life last week, Randall took first in the 3-M board and scored 20 points higher than his closest competitor. He was honored as Mountain West Conference diver of the week on Wednesday.