Colorado visit will kick off season for swimming

By Paige Fieldsted , Sports Editor

After several weeks of two-a-day practices and conditioning with no competition in sight, the start of the season is finally upon the Utah swimming and diving teams.

Both the men’s and women’s teams head to Colorado this weekend to compete against the Denver Pioneers and kick off their 2009-2010 campaign. The women’s team will also face North Texas in the Saturday meet.

The Utes will be facing a challenge in their first meet, as both Denver’s men’s and women’s teams are ranked 25 in the nation.

Utah’s plan of attack is simple: Put swimmers in the events they excel at.

“The plan is to stick our swimmers in their best events,” said head coach Greg Winslow. “We have three really difficult meets in a row, and we are looking for the team to have the right attitude as well as endurance.”

Winslow said that he expects senior Annie VanLeeuwen and sophomore Hannah Caron to be big scorers for the women and senior John Baque and sophomore Major Robinson to lead the men’s team.

Winslow also said he is looking for his team to take the vigorous training they have been doing and apply it to competitive situations.

“Every week is about getting better,” Winslow said. “The real key is to put yourself into a position to learn, to combine the techniques we have been practicing with an aggressive race plan.”

Following the Denver meet, the Utes will return home for three meets in a row, beginning with conference opponent UNLV on Oct. 30, followed by Arizona State on Oct. 31.

When Utah begins conference competition against UNLV, they will be looking to overcome more than just their opponents in the pool. In the Mountain West Conference preseason Coaches Poll, the men were picked to finish fifth, and the women were picked to finish sixth.

“The team has gotten together to talk about the ranking already, and they understand the position they are in,” Winslow said. “We don’t put a lot of stock in the preseason rankings. Other teams don’t know our roster and the squad.”

The team is focusing on working hard every day in order to have a successful season.

“The coaches and the team know that we have to work hard this season.” Winslow said. “We are prepared to do that.”

Going into its first meet of the season, the young Utah team is confident that it is ready to compete, despite the rankings.

“We have a young team, but we are ready to go out and surprise people and prove a lot of people wrong,” Winslow said.

The meet against Denver will begin at noon Saturday.

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