Tigers dive straight into the SCAC Championships

The championship is the only confirmed in-person meet as of now

Trinity athletes whose seasons are typically in the fall or winter now face an abbreviated season occurring in the spring. This is the case for Trinity’s swimming and diving teams who traditionally have a lengthy season crossing over from semester to semester but this season have just one official scheduled event — the 2021 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Swimming and Diving Championships taking place Feb. 10-13 at the Bill Walker Natatorium in San Antonio.
The Tigers were originally scheduled to travel to Georgetown for a meet against Southwestern University on Jan. 16. However, the in-person meet was cancelled in favor of a virtual meet, according to first-year Caroline Myers. Despite the transition to a virtual meet, Trinity divers did not compete, according to sophomore diver Gabi Fulk.
Virtual meets for the swimming and cross-country teams are solutions that have been used since spring of last year, but the concept offers a challenge for divers. Unlike swimming events, which can be easily timed, diving events require a panel of judges.
Junior Benjamin Adams explained that scheduling challenges caused by the pandemic have made planning events difficult.
“[The schedule is] dependent upon not only Trinity University as an institution and where they’re at but also the San Antonio community at large,” Adams said. “Then whatever school you want to do a meet with, you’ve got to see whatever community they’re embedded in, you have to know their COVID rate, and then you have to know their school’s policy. It’s very much matching up the sort of rules that are causing the problems.”
As a result of the scheduling difficulties, the first and only in-person meet that the Tigers are scheduled to compete in is the SCAC Championships next week. Southwestern will be entering the meet in the same boat as Trinity after they canceled all their January events, but other schools in the conference like Austin College and Colorado College competed throughout January and have several meets under their belts.
The lack of competitive events does not mean that Trinity’s team will be unprepared. Swimmers and divers have had daily practices since returning to campus on January 4 — divers even had two-a-day practices according to Fulk.
However, as a result of campus closing after Thanksgiving break, the team missed practice time that they normally have in December. During a regular season, the swimming and diving teams return to campus during winter break to continue practicing and even compete since swimming and diving are year-round sports.
Instead, Trinity swimmers either had to find a local pool to practice at over the break or limit themselves to land workouts. According to Myers, it was difficult for some athletes to find a place to practice because the pandemic has caused many pool facilities to close.
Fulk was one of the athletes who was confined to land workouts, and her training regimen consisted of 30 second exercises to strengthen muscles used in diving and stretching to maintain flexibility. Although she was able to stay active thanks to the exercises given to her by her coach, Fulk found practicing at home to be a challenge.
“Even if I were to dive at home, it’s not the same coaching and the same atmosphere, so being able to be in person with our coach and our teammates and going through our usual routine, practice and everything, it’s definitely been really good to get back to that,” Fulk said.
Practice is an essential part of swimming and diving, according to Adams, who says that preparing for the season is a year-long process. Because of the pandemic, both Meyers and Adams noted a decrease in the amount of practice they have been able to put in, and as a result, they are looking forward to the conference championships while still setting realistic expectations for themselves.
Live video coverage of both swimming and diving events next week will be available for fans to view at home, as no fans will be allowed to attend the SCAC Championships in accordance with conference guidelines.