Swim and dive sweep SCAC Championships

Women and men’s swim and dive team win first place at the Southern Collegiate Athletics Conference (SCAC)

The Southern Collegiate Athletics Conference (SCAC) championships from Feb. 8-10 in Garland, Texas yielded many achievements for the 2022-23 Tiger swim and dive team season. Some examples include a 20th consecutive SCAC champion for the women’s team as well as the fourth consecutive SCAC champion for the men’s teams. Additionally, the coaching staff for both the women’s swim and dive teams, including head swim coach Cathleen Pruden, assistant swim coaches Adrien Downey and John Ryan, and diving coach Stan Randall were named the SCAC’s Women’s Coaching Staff of the Year.

Several members of the diving team finished top five in the one- and three-meter dives. Two members were named the Divers of the Meet: Alexis Radhakrishnan, sophomore English major, won on the women’s side and Konstantine Partales, junior computer science major, grabbed the honor on the men’s side. Partales also became the second male diver in SCAC history to sweep first place in both the one-meter and three-meter board events in consecutive championships. Partales said that even though the competition was difficult, in the end, it still was a lot of fun.

“We put a lot of effort into this year and it definitely showed up during the conference. Now we’re just focusing on regionals because that’s going to be a lot more of a difficult meet, but the conference was definitely fun and I’m really glad it went the way it did,” Partales said. “The entire team put in a lot of effort and it went exactly how we wanted it to.”

This sentiment was shared by Partales’ teammate Gabi Fulk, senior computer science major, who noted that it was exciting being able to compete alongside her teammates.
“It was good, I enjoyed my last conference with my team as a senior. So, I was just making sure I was being as involved as I can,” Fulk said.

Meanwhile, the swim team broke several Trinity and SCAC records including the 800-yard male freestyle relay, 400-yard medley relay for both males and females, 200-yard male freestyle relay for the 200-yard female medley relay. Head coach Cathleen Pruden described the SCAC competition as fierce and expressed her pride in the team’s overall performance.

“I think we’re pretty excited to have won both of them [the women and men titles], and we have swam pretty well along the way. It was definitely competitive this year, so that was exciting — to really be pushed more so than last year by the conference. So to come out on top of that is just a great way to end the meet,” Pruden said.

With this success, the Tigers turned their eyes to the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) championships. The coaching staff for each team is preparing their athletes for the final push. Head coach Stan Randall emphasized his plan in taking the NCAA one step at a time starting with the regional competition in Atlanta.

“Well, the goal right now is focusing on Atlanta. If you don’t make it through Atlanta, then the season ends. If you do, then you are a part of history, a part of a legacy. It doesn’t matter what place you get in the NCAA, you made it,” Randall said.

According to Randall, the divers are now focusing on polishing their technique to not only be consistent but as flawless as possible. This commitment to clean up the details is present in each diver as they share their own independent focuses in the upcoming competitions. One example is Radhakrishnan, who said that she wanted to focus on her mental strength.

“I was definitely nervous because I wanted to perform well for my team, and I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself. It’s because I know that if I focus on outcomes too much then I start to get nervous and do weird things,” Radhakrishnan said. “I felt really good on the three-meter and I kind of knew that it was my day as everything felt good and fell into place. One-meter was a bit more rocky and so I just have to keep focusing and I just need to feel more mentally tough.”

As for the swimmers, their goals remain much consistent with their diving counterparts. Pruden notes that with the few practices and competitions left, the athletes have a limited amount of time to recover and continue to improve. Pruden also notes the effort all of the athletes put into their training and encourages them to do their best.

“Six of the women are going to the Midwestern Invite this weekend and [will] hopefully solidify their qualifications into the NCAA so we can clear that hurdle. Hopefully next Wednesday we’ll get some good news and have a size group of NCAA qualifiers and then we can move forward into those meets,” Pruden said. “The biggest thing we’re talking about right now in the staff in a training perspective is trying to get their easy speed back. We had to work a little too hard to go fast in the beginning of the races this week, so we’ll get up to speed and to make sure to place as high as we can in the competition to come.”

With the team’s success in SCAC, many on the team now look to the future as the season now begins its final weeks. The team’s next competition is the Midwest Invitational at Chicago in the Myers-McLoraine Pool at the University of Chicago from Feb. 17-18. The NCAA regional competition runs from Feb. 24-25 in Atlanta, Georgia with championships being held Mar. 15-18 at Greensboro, North Carolina in the Greensboro Aquatic Center.