Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

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

Swim and Dive: UMass heads to Dartmouth for Invitational as the regular season nears its end

Both teams look to take advantage of one last Invitational before the postseason
Nina Walat

Even though the Minutemen are coming off of a 198-102 win and the Minutewomen are coming off of a 180-114 loss against Bryant last Friday, both teams have very similar goals and mindsets when it comes to this Dartmouth Invitational.

This Invitational is not a normal one. With most invitationals, several teams show up and compete against each other similar how a conference championship would work, but this one will only consist of UMass and Dartmouth.

This gives both teams the ability to work on their warm-up and warm down exercises before their conference championships, and it will also give each team more preparation by cutting the Invitational into three different sections happening at three different times, identical to a conference championship.

Even though both teams will use the event for similar reasons from a practice standpoint, it is unlikely that the Minutemen and Minutewomen will be at the same level as the Big Green from an energy standpoint.

“We’re at a slightly different focus and goal for the meet than Dartmouth,” said men’s head coach Russ Yarworth. “Dartmouth uses the meet to have their final inter-squad competition for who is going to their conference meet. So they’ll be rested and they’ll have a lot of kids shaved and wearing tech suits. Our purpose is to take care of our own swimming and see what happens from there.”

Although the Big Green may have an advantage with the amount of energy they will have, it may not make a drastic effect on the scoreboard, as the men are currently 1-7 while the women are 2-6, both losing their past three meets.

Not only are Yarworth and women’s coach Bob Newcomb focused on the race itself, but the pre-races and the post-race activity is also a key for both teams as well.

“Warm-up Friday, race, warm-down. Get up Saturday morning, warm-up, race, warm-down, (then in afternoon) warm-up, race, warm-down,” said Newcomb. “It’s a great opportunity for them to rehearse what they’re going to have to go through in February.”

UMass uses the benefit of having two different Invitationals that are set up similar to what it will see at the A10 Championship in February by being able to take what they got from the first Invitational and improve upon it in the next one, before the postseason actually arrives.

“I think what Terrier did was give the guys a good benchmark of where they were,” said Yarworth. “It made them also realize that if they want to improve they are going to have to work even harder, and that’s how we’ve improved.”

“One of the big things is that our training has changed,” said Newcomb. “There’s a lot more conditioning, and we’ve been doing so much speed work, so they’re going to get faster. It breaks them down and gets them tired, but the benefit when they rest is astronomical, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Looking ahead, the swimmers have been training for months on months to be in the best position to succeed at the A-10 championships, which starts with attitude and mindset.

“I think they’re pretty confident,” said Yarworth. “They’re confident in the coaching, they’re confident in the program, they’re confident in each other, and they’re having fun. Even at practice when they got some nut-job like me screaming at them all the time.”

The Minutemen and Minutewomen will be at the Karl Michael Pool in Hanover, New Hampshire on both Friday and Saturday, with the first event starting at 5 p.m. on Friday afternoon.

Joseph Aliberti can be reached via email at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @JosephAliberti1.

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