Swim and dive members Jake Taylor and Nathan Gonzales will represent BYU at the 2015 NCAA Swim and Dive Championships.
“This is every swimmer’s dream, to make it to the championships,” Taylor said. “There is no competition at a higher level than this in college.”
The NCAA championships involve an annual tournament featuring both individual and team competitions for national titles.
Swim competitors first go through a preliminary round for each event they compete in. The prelims normally take place in the morning, with the top 16 times moving on to the finals later in primetime. Taylor will compete in the 200-meter individual medley, 100-meter backstroke and 200-meter backstroke.
“For dive we do prelims as well, but only the top nine will make it through to the finals. The scores all reset before the finals, though, so even if you end lower in the prelims you can still do great in the finals and win it all,” Gonzales said.
The Cougar swim and dive athletes will benefit from competing in the NCAA championships, whether or not Taylor or Gonzales bring home a title. The program will receive attention and recognition for future swimmer recruits considering attending BYU.
“Being able to say to a possible recruit that swimmers from your program have gone to the championships in recent years carries a lot of weight,” Taylor said. “It really helps motivate people to want to come to BYU, because it helps them feel like they can have that chance.”
Taylor and Gonzales continue to practice in order to be in top condition for the tournament. Both feel that working on the little things will keep them at their best and give them a shot to take home the title.
“I’m practicing a lot, just going straight up and coming straight down so that I have as small of a splash as I can, because that is how you get higher points,” Gonzales said. “I’m also working on a new dive that not many people attempt, because it’s a higher degree of difficulty, so I hope that will give me an edge.”
After the championships are over, Taylor will continue training to get ready for Nationals and the Olympics, both of which will take place this summer. Meanwhile, Gonzales leaves for a mission this summer but plans on preparing for the Olympic Trials in 2019 following his return.
The men’s championships will be held March 26–28 at the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center in Iowa City, Iowa.