BYU swim and dive team takes a trip to Hawaii

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The BYU swim and dive team is heading to Hawaii today to cash in its reward for hard work this summer and to compete in its first official conference meet of the season.

The Cougars, who claimed the conference championship last year for both the men’s and women’s teams, will be facing the University of Hawaii, whose men’s team placed fourth in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Conference last year.

But this meet will feature a somewhat smaller BYU team than usual.

“I chose to honor those that worked really hard all summer long and reached a certain time standard,” Head Coach John Brooks said. “Those are the ones that I’m taking to Hawaii. It’s a reward. Yes, we’re competing against the University of Hawaii and their respectful program; however, the meet is designed to reward those for working hard all summer long.”

This is the first time in about six years, according to Brooks, that the Cougars have been able to compete in Hawaii.

“It’s not a yearly thing, it’s a new thing we’re trying out to motivate (the team) to train and work hard all summer long,” Brooks said.

Team captain Taryn Toolson Lewis is scheduled to swim the 50 and 100 free, 100 breast, 200 and 400 free relay and 200 and 400 medley relay at the meet, and she looks forward to the meet after a lot of work.

“We’re really excited,” Toolson Lewis said. “We’ve been working really hard just to try to get back into the best shape possible.”

Toolson Lewis added that last week the team was required to run up and down every single stair throughout the entire LaVell Edwards Stadium and then swim for an hour afterward.  She said it will be nice to have some time to relax at the beach.

“In swimming it’s a little different than any other sport where they would rest you for a game,” Toolson Lewis said. “In swimming you just train all the way through the season until the very end.”

Garret Beaman, the men’s team captain, said this meet will be important in projecting the team’s future performance.

“We get a chance to swim against a good team,” Beaman said. “Hawaii is always pretty strong in swimming, so we get to see where we stand in the conference. I think it’ll be a pretty good meet.”

He also said it will be a good opportunity to get out of the mainland.

The swimmers will compete on Friday and Saturday starting at 2:30 p.m. Hawaii time.

But even outside the meet, Coach Brooks still plans on being productive:

“I’ll be sitting at the beach listening to Conference.”

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