(Photo: Alli Cline/WCSN)
The temperature in Arizona may be cooling down, but the ASU swim team is cranking up the heat as it tops off winter training and prepares for two of the most anticipated meets of the season this weekend.
On Friday, the Sun Devils will take on Stanford, and Saturday will feature a matchup against California. These teams are ranked first and second respectively overall by College Swimming, which will prove to be a though test for ASU. Especially since Cal and Stanford have three Olympic gold medalists from the Rio games: Ryan Murphy, Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky, who has never lost a race and has shattered multiple world records.
“I think the important thing heading into those two dual meets is the focus on the details,” Junior Christian Lorenz said. “It’s starting to get into that crunch time where everything is important. Small things and still hitting the hard work will prepare you for those meets, and will prepare you to race fast and compete with the best in the country.”
This is the optimal time for ASU to be faced with a challenge. Rather than being tired after undergoing an intense few weeks of winter training, the team is operating on its most efficient level both mentally and physically.
“We started training camp off with letting the teams know that there is no other combined team in the nation close to doing what we’re doing,” Assistant Coach Dan Kesler said. “We’re the most improved team and they’re eating it up, and it showed the past two weeks of training.”
Furthermore, The Sun Devils have set themselves apart from the majority of teams because in place of being rushed out of the workouts founded in yardage or intense intervals, they are being weaned off them.
“I think we’re a team that has not shaved and fully tapered yet,” Kesler said. “I think that some teams have. So we can really drop a lot of time. There’s still a lot of money in the bank.”
This places the team in an advantageous position, but also means that it is time to withdraw the assets ASU has been saving away.
“Some people can swim well during the season and during taper,” Lorenz said. Some people have a hard time during the season just because it’s so much burden on them. Then, once the rest starts coming; once the yardage drops, then they have more energy, more power, and have that will to perform a little bit faster, which will start to show.”
However, the meets against Stanford and Cal are not the pinnacle of the season. The Sun Devils plan to do well as always, but their competitions this week are merely a stepping stone in the direction of what they have been intending to do for quite some time.
“Myself, as well as I think most of the guys, would just like to make a bigger impact on the national scale,” Lorenz said. “I think that’s the main goal, to make noise on the national level and really show people who ASU is. We’re definitely not a one point scoring team so it will be nice to go and shake things up.”
ASU is looking at the bigger picture regardless of the difficult matchup ahead.
“I think that’ll be a time to race, and get ready for PAC-12s and NCAAs,” Kesler said. “Two of the top teams in the country coming in here and that will be a good time to see where we’re at with some things. Test some not only swimming, but mental attitude as well to see if we need to adjust some things along the way.”
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