Coming off their first meet of the new year with mixed results but positive attitudes, BYU’s swim and dive teams are eager to impress as the season winds down.
Both men’s and women’s teams are in Colorado this weekend. The men’s team will compete against Air Force on Friday, and then both the men’s and women’s teams will compete against Denver on Saturday. With these away meets, the Cougars look to make the most of things before the MPSF Championships in February. After a close loss to Arizona State last Friday, the women are especially excited to make things happen.
Competition near the end of the season is as difficult as ever but swimmers Candice Smith and Taryn Toolson are ready for the challenge.
“Honestly, it is tough but we’re conditioned for it. You can always improve,” Smith said. “It’s always about coming in first and just about beating who’s next to you to the wall.”
Toolson makes sure to take things one day at a time.
“Obviously we want to win. [The season] is coming to a close and we’re working on the technical parts of races,” Toolson said. “One of my biggest goals is to make it to the NCAA national meet.”
A technical aspect Toolson has been working on to achieve her goal is relay exchanges. The 200 medley relay team of Toolson, Hailey Campbell, Kassy Bispo and Kim Welch hope to reach the NCAA championship this March.
Toolson wants to “have everyone [on the team] step it up” for the last few meets of the season because before the national championships, for both men and women, comes the conference championship.
Head coach Tim Powers is all about learning experiences, particularly for the younger members of the team, since swimming and diving in college creates “a whole new dynamic” for them.
As a senior, Smith knows how important it is to help the younger swimmers, saying the team as a whole is “like a big family.”
So with only a few meets left before conference competition, she hopes everyone swims well because when one person has a great race, the rest of the team feeds off the success and positivity.
“I hope the girls show up and swim their hearts out,” Smith said.
After a week off from competition, BYU returns home to battle in-state rival Utah on Jan. 27.