It has been a month and a half since the Youngstown State University swimming and diving team had its last meet. That’s 51 days, 1,224 hours or 73,440 minutes.
Despite the long break, head coach Matt Anderson said he feels his team won’t skip a beat at the University of Akron on Friday.
“This is a pretty normal schedule for us,” Anderson said. “I think we will see everyone hit the ground running based on how we train. They should be pretty sharp by the time we get to the meets.”
YSU last competed from Nov. 22-24 at the Cleveland State University Invitational in the Busby Natatorium. The Penguins finished sixth out of seven teams.
During winter break, with the temperatures in Youngstown dipping to record lows on certain days, the Penguins traveled to warm and sunny Florida. Even though to most this is a vacation getaway, it was a time for the Penguins to hone their skills and get ready for the last push of the season.
Sophomore Bec Stafford said she feels the break helped her team become even more competitive then they were before.
“I think we can expect a lot more after break having back-to-back two-a-days every day,” Stafford said. “The break is going to affect us, but in a good way; our chemistry grew and we became closer as a team.”
Junior Carly Dean agreed with Stafford, and said the team worked on the little things.
“That big break will help us a lot in these two upcoming meets we have, and we will really improve on the little things,” she said.
Akron is a tough competitor, though. The Zips placed second out of nine teams in the Zippy Invitational and beat a St. Francis University team that gave the Penguins a run for their money last season.
Even though the Zips are tough, Dean said the work that the girls put into should reflect in the race.
“With all the training and work we put in, I expect the meet to go really well.” Dean said.
Stafford feels the girls need to mentally prepare themselves as well as physically.
“Sometimes, it can all be a little stressful with school, preparation and conference,” Stafford said. “We have to make sure our minds don’t get weak and we don’t feel overwhelmed.”
Anderson said that the work ethic and attitude from this group of girls is one of the best that he’s seen in a long time. He added that this group of girls has exceeded expectations and push themselves to the limit.
“I think they will preform better then we have in previous years,” Anderson said. “It will be fun to see how it all will pan out.”
The Penguins have back-to-back meets this Friday and Saturday. After squaring off with Akron, the Penguins will travel to St. Francis to wrap up their weekend.