By AmyAnn Rupp
BYU”s strength and national ranking team will be challenged by UNLV and Florida State University when they return to action Friday, Nov. 22.
They compete at UNLV after a three-week break and hard training since defeating Utah at home Nov. 1.
“We are really excited to swim again,” senior captain Billy Betz said. “It has been a while and racing is the whole point of everything that we are doing.”
Head coach Tim Powers said they have been working on adapting to harder work levels during this break from competition.
“We have been working really really hard,” Powers said. “What I have seen in practice makes me think they are going to swim very well Friday.”
As a result of the Cougars strenuous practices, they are a little run down and are battling some colds and sinus infections right now.
“With our tough workouts and the change in weather we are a little worn out,” Powers said. “But that happens, you don”t worry about it but just press on. Our motto is ”The team is fine.””
Betz said that they are ready to go despite the sickness.
“I don”t think we have ever worked this hard at BYU before,” Betz said. “At least not in my four years here.”
After hard work in practice, a strong showing at both the Pacific Invitational and the Utah dual meet, the College Swimming Coaches Association of America ranks the BYU men No. 21 in the nation.
UNLV and Florida State are going to focus this weekend on taking down the Cougars who have only lost to No. 2 Stanford at the Pacific Invitational.
“Since we are ranked 21st, they would both like to sink us,” Powers said. “Once you have got a national ranking, if you are not on the hit list already then you are automatically added to it.”
Besides being 21st in the nation, the men”s team also boasts top individual and relay performers.
Diogo Yabe is ranked No. 17 in the 100 fly and No. 12 in the 200 IM in the nation. Followed by No. 22 Randy Belliston in the 200 IM, and No. 16 Chris Johnson in the 100 backstroke in the nation.
In addition, the Cougars are national powerhouses in their relays. They are ranked Nos. 3, 9,13, and 14 in the 800, 400, 200 free and 400 medley relays, respectively.
“I think we are at a good spot to start in the rankings,” Powers said. “I hope we can move up.”
The Cougars face tough competition against Florida State and UNLV but still plan on winning the dual meet.
“UNLV is always very tough in their home pool,” Powers said. “I don”t know why it makes a difference for them to be at home, but they do have a very fast pool with very little turbulence.”
Florida State is an unknown to BYU but Betz said he is excited to race against a big school like Florida State. The Seminoles feature a strong diving team with national and international rankings.
“We are strong overall and should be competitive,” Powers said. “We are bringing with us the luxury of being strong and tough from top to bottom.”