Swimming finds groove against conference foes

Injuries and illnesses have been plaguing the men’s and women’s swimming and diving team in recent weeks, but head coach Art Brandt said the team is finally turning a corner.

“Our last meet with (UW-)River Falls and (UW-)Oshkosh, most everybody had their season best time,” Brandt said. “That was good. Things were coming together.”

The Blugold men beat River Falls and Oshkosh at a meet on Nov. 23 while the women took second overall.

Brandt said the team has been battling illnesses and injuries since the beginning of the season, which have slightly hindered the men and women’s ability to perform.

“It’s probably the oddest fall I’ve had as far as illness goes,” Brandt said. “I haven’t had one day of practice with the whole team in there.”

Sophomore diver Amanda Baker said she has been recovering from an ear infection and an injured knee from a fall on the diving board.

Baker, who took first on the one-meter-board at the meet against the Falcons and Titans, said there have been issues ranging from ankle issues, the flu, strained feet, back issues and ear infections.

The majority of the women’s team is back to swimming and feeling stronger as the first half of the season comes to an end, Baker said, so they are hoping for a strong performance at the Rochester (Minn.) Invitational this weekend.

“It’s going to be a big meet because a lot of good people will be there,” Baker said. “I think it will be fun though.”

Back in November, the women competed in five meets or duals and the men, three. Brandt said he has seen improvement from the beginning of the season, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t pushing the team hard. The weeks leading up to finals are some of the more important days to practice, Brandt said, because the teams take a break during finals and the holidays.

The invitational this weekend will be the last meet of the semester before the men and women’s swimming teams pack their bags for an eleven-day trip to California for winterim practice.

The diving team will not be joining the swimming team, Baker said, but she said they are practicing hard to finish the semester on a high note.