Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass swimming & diving to compete in separate invitationals this weekend

Divers head south for Navy Invitational, swimmers aim for redemption at BU
(Collegian file photo)

The Massachusetts swimming and diving team will wrap up its three-week long road stretch this weekend, with the diving squads heading to Navy for its Diving Invitational and the swimmers to BU again for its Terrier Invitational.

BU came out victorious over UMass at their dual meet two weekends ago, winning by a combined score of 365-235. Rather than take a few days off to rest and recover, both the men’s and women’s teams were right back in the pool, putting themselves through rigorous training. It wasn’t until recently this week that coaches Bob Newcomb and Russ Yarworth gave their teams a breather.

“We didn’t recover until these last three days,” said Yarworth of the men. “After last weekend, we went right into a heavy training cycle again.”

“It’s a quick drop in a couple of days, but they will respond well to it,” assured Newcomb, the coach for the women. “We’ve cut out a lift. Our dry land is a little less intense. Spinning, again, is a little less intense. We had an optional workout this morning. We’re just gonna go with a lighter workout with some speed this afternoon and then tomorrow is just loose and ready to go.”

Newcomb believes that his team’s familiarity with BU’s facilities should serve the Minutewomen well in their quest for redemption.

“I think it’s an advantage in that they know the pool, they know what they’re expected to do,” Newcomb said. “We’ve been talking about this meet as far as how two weeks ago can be an advantage to get used to the blocks and the backstroke wedges and the walls and everything. It’s just good to set this team up, especially the freshmen.”

Calling the upcoming BU Terrier Invitational “our second biggest meet to [the] A 10’s,” senior leader Ansley Baker is confident in the team going into this weekend.

“I know we’ve been working hard the whole season, and everyone else knows that,” Baker said, “so just going in with that confidence and excitement gets the whole team excited and ready to go.”

Over the past two weeks, Newcomb and the Minutewomen have been putting extra emphasis on the small things, like starts and turns and breakouts.

As for the Minutemen, the 100 breaststroke has been one of their strongest and most consistent events all season. Junior Luther Gordon, who took first place in the event at the dual meet with BU, sees it as a launching pad for the rest of the team.

“It’s an easy way to get momentum going,” Gordon said. “Against BU, it was shown that we got off to a rough start, and then we were able to get a 1-2-3 finish in the 100 breaststroke, and it’s just a great way to get momentum going, get people excited. Just having people swim fast, placing high—it’s great way to get the energy up and going.”

After this weekend’s invitational, both teams will face a nearly two-month layoff, with their next meet coming until Jan. 12 at home against Bryant.

Both coaches had different views of the layoff, with Yarworth worried about not being able to keep the same level of training that they’ve had going at the beginning part of the season.

“It’s actually the scariest part of the season for a coach in swimming,” conceded Yarworth. “We have the Thanksgiving break, we start to train again but then we have the last week of classes and finals, and then we have the Christmas break.”

Newcomb, on the other hand, doesn’t see the long layoff as a problem.

“How can you not be motivated in 10 days in Puerto Rico, where it’s gonna be 80-85 [degrees] every day and we’re gonna come back with a tan?” Newcomb pointed out, referring to a trip his team will take over the winter break. “It’s getting them into that routine and coming back from that, they know we’re at that point [where we’re] six weeks from A 10’s. They will stay motivated, because they know that prize is right out there.”

Ben Painchaud can be reached at [email protected].

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