By: Collin Frazier
With sports season in full swing, more teams are starting to show off their skills. One of these teams that are beginning their 2019-2020 campaign is the Findlay Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Team. With two meets already under their belt, including a meet in Northern Michigan, head coach Andrew Makepeace says that the meets have helped each athlete learn where they are right now and what they can do to improve.
“It was a good learning experience for everybody [the meet in Northern Michigan],” said Makepeace. “We were able to stay in Mackinaw City [Michigan], which is nice [because] it gives everybody a breath of fresh air and to spend time together.”
While getting the results you want out of your team is something Makepeace and the rest of the team strive for, right now the team is only concerned with being better than they were the meet before.
“It sounds silly, because you look at volleyball, they got a record. You look at soccer, they got a record all that stuff matters, to me it doesn’t. We don’t really want to look at the result early in the season,” said Makepeace. “We want to look at how we’re progressing, the process that we’re following, and building off of the mistakes that you’re supposed to learn early in the year.”
With impressive feats last season from now-graduate, Amanda Stiegal, and senior Hanna Cederholm both placing in the NCAA Division II National Championship, Makepeace is hoping to continue the excellence from last year.
“The biggest thing is just making sure we continue to keep people happy and healthy,” Makepeace commented. “As long [of] a season it is, an ‘overuse injury’ sport like swimming can be super challenging. Same with diving, [it] can be super challenging because divers are hitting the water a lot. Swimmers are taking a lot of strokes and positions that the body is not traditionally supposed to go. We try to reduce their [the athletes’] load a lot by not overdoing the volume of their training… We want to make sure they have the proper mechanics early on in the season so that way their bodies lasts throughout the year.”
Cole Condon, a freshman swimmer, says that the team chemistry in a collegiate sports team pleasantly surprised him.
“[With] this being one of my first big teams being on, and actually a team that cares about their swimming, this team chemistry has been the best I have ever seen in a team,” Condon stated. “Everyone has the one end-goal at the end of the season, which is [the] conference [championship] and making it to NCAA [Championship]. It’s really cool that everyone wants to do the same exact thing, and all have the same goal at the very end versus other teams where it’s like ‘every man for himself’. But here, it’s like a cohesive unit and everyone goes at it and tries to make it, and everyone succeeds in doing everything they do,” said Condon.
Although the new kind of team chemistry was a pleasant surprise, Condon’s new adjustment to becoming a student-athlete was different kind of surprise.
“When I first got here, [I was] used to, coming from a high school background, [where I] never studied, never did anything in my life, and made it through high school easily,” Condon said. “And then I got here, and it hit me like a truck, and I was like, ‘Okay, I need to start putting in the effort here’. You can put effort in athletics and everything, but you also have to balance the academics of a Division II school, where academics come before athletics.”
The Oilers’ next meet will be against Davenport and Kalamazoo in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Nov. 1 and 2.