Swimmers look to move up in conference

By Paige Fieldsted, Sports Editor

With dreams to win the Mountain West Conference Championships in his second season as head swimming and diving coach unfulfilled, Greg Winslow is making changes this year.

Last season, the team trained almost constantly, including through dual meets and Winter Break, something Winslow said might have been a mistake.

“We want to give our athletes more time off and away from the pool,” he said. “That way when they are in the pool, they are more focused and ready to compete. We are going to try and train a lot smarter than we did in the past year.”

Although last season the women’s team remained undefeated for more than half of the season, it fell to a disappointing No. 3 at the MWC Championships, and the men’s team came in last for the second year in a row.

“I think that we trained really hard for last season, but you can’t always write a perfect ending,” Winslow said. “We had a really young team and hopefully we can turn mistakes into maturity that takes us through the season.”

Despite having gained more experience in the pool last season, the Utes will still be battling the experience factor as a large group of freshmen will be joining the team this year.

After placing No. 3 at last season’s MWC Championships, the women are looking to derail rival powerhouse BYU and win the championship this year.

Losing only three seniors from last year’s team, the women have a good shot at winning the championship. Last season’s standout freshmen Hannah Caron and Whitney Lopus will be returning along with Annie VanLeeuwen and Maiya Otsuka, who are expected to lead the team this season.

“We will be smart about putting together lineups and strategies,” Winslow said. “It would be awesome for us to knock BYU off their pedestal.”

The men’s team will be getting 12 new additions8212;four divers and eight swimmers8212;from around the country. A few of the new swimmers will be expected to step up and contribute from the get-go, as the Utes lost team leader Adam Oliver to graduation after last season.

“We have men coming in from all over the country, which should be fun,” Winslow said. “Ryan Hansen and Bryan Michaels both have faster times than Adam’s fastest. All of our recruits will be big and are going to help us rewrite our record.”

Having placed No. 6 in the past two conference championships, the men’s main goal is to move up in the conference standings and turn the program around.

“On the men’s side, it would be hard not to move up,” Winslow said. “We are really looking to leapfrog a couple of teams.”

Although winning a championship is the goal for both the men and women, Winslow wants his teams to have more fun and win more dual meets than they did last season.

“Our goal is to have as much fun as possible and do as well as we can at MWC championships and win the dual meets along the way,” Winslow said. “We have some really big dual meets this season and we want to win as many of those as possible. We’re not looking for swimmers to get record-breaking times at every meet, but nobody likes losing.”

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