Trinity swimming and diving hosted the Tiger Invitational at Palo Alto College Aquatic Center over the weekend of Nov. 18-20. Trinity men and women faced off against competition from both inside and outside the SCAC. Among the seven teams present were two NCAA Division II schools, University of Texas-Permian Basin and Henderson State University, the latter cinching the victory in both the men and womenâ€™s competitions with times equivalent to many Division I teams. In swimming and diving competitions, individual races, relays and dives receive points (based on place) which contribute to a final, cumulative team score.
â€œThe diving team really put us ahead in points,â€ said sophomore Ivy Claflin. â€œThey always do and theyâ€™re pretty reliable.â€
Trinity standout Lindsay Hagmann won the womenâ€™s freestyle in 50m, 100m and 200m. Hagmann was also part of the second place womenâ€™s 400 free relay along with Lauren Cuda, Abbie Jones and Star Rosales.
â€œI am happy with my times,â€ Hagmann said. â€œAll of my times from this meet are faster than they were last year at the same time, so I am excited to see what kind of times I can put up at conference.â€
Jacob Hurrell-Zitelman broke a Trinity record with a 15:48.96 time, beating the Henderson State swimmer by 13 seconds, to win the menâ€™s 1650 free. Both Hagmann and Hurrell-Zitelman, along with Trinity diver Christene Peterson, who qualified for the NCAA championship with her second place three-meter performance and low board victory, were named SCAC swimmers and diver of the week.
Despite holding a lead for most of the three-day meet, the women of Trinity swimming and diving came in second to the Henderson State Reddies. The Division II team ended the competition only 19 points ahead of Trinity, with 756.5 points to Trinityâ€™s 737.5. In contrast, the final results of the menâ€™s meet saw Henderson State University with 985 points, as compared to second place UT-Permian Basinâ€™s 481.5. Trinity menâ€™s swimming and diving came in at fifth place below fourth place Southwestern University. The Southwestern Pirates have proven to be some of Trinity swimmingâ€™s toughest competition over past years, yet the Tigers have held on to the menâ€™s SCAC title for the past five seasons.
â€œSouthwestern beat us this year, but last year at [the Tiger Invitational] they beat us by a lot more, but we ended up still beating them at conference,â€ said sophomore Cole Rezsofi.
Many teams allow swimmers a prolonged taper, or period of rest from training, before the Tiger Invitational. Trinity does not. The swimmers, especially the men, were tired and beaten down going into the meet, explained Colton Smith.
â€œWe donâ€™t rest into this meet like other schools do. We train a lot better before it so weâ€™re all tired,â€ said swimmer David Smith. â€œWe definitely finished stronger than we thought we would.â€
Despite the exhaustion experienced by many of the swimmers, Hagmann managed to put forth an excellent performance, which she contributes to her mindset during races.
â€œI always try to keep the mindset that I can swim fast no matter how tired my body is,â€ Hagmann said. â€œIf you let the pressure of the meet or the exhaustion take over, then itâ€™s hard to swim a good race.â€
While swimmers compete to win at each meet, the purpose of fall meets is to measure times and improve before winter training, after which the swimmers will rest before hopefully pulling out their best times for conference, securing another SCAC title for the Tigers.
â€œWeâ€™re climbing this mountain the entire first semester and through winter training,â€ Rezsofi said. â€œOnce we get to conference then itâ€™s not as taxing and then we can start rest and once we get to the bottom of the mountain weâ€™re fast.â€
The swimmers see this part of the season as a journey and not a destination.
â€œWeâ€™re definitely building up to something,â€ sophomore Colton Smith said. â€œWeâ€™re not turning in the times that we know we are capable of right now.â€
Trinity fans will have to wait until spring for the arrival of the SCAC championship, to see if the long months of strenuous training have ensured another conference championship for the Tigers.