By Roderick M. Wilbon, Sports Editor
The summer is officially over and yet University of Missouri-St. Louis Tritons Swimming season has started. The 25-week long season is full of water practice, dryland practice and meets. Teams that make nationals have their season then extended 3 to 4 more weeks. “Our entire year of swimming is for one meet our conference meet,” said new Head Coach Tony Hernandez. “We spend 20 hours a week training and right before a meet we rest to peak in our meets.”
This technique often used to maximize swim training is that of tapering and peaking. Tapering is summarized as a reduced workload for a period leading up to a competition. When tapered properly, a reduction in the duration, intensity and length of your workouts can provide you with the strength and stamina necessary to swim the fastest possible on race day.
UMSL has Men’s and Women’s teams and they both train together. The training is intense and teammates root for one another and push each other. It is all about the times in college swimming. Your times put you in an A, B, or C category and allow you to compete in certain competitions. Athletes need at least a B to get an invite to a national tournament.
Coach Hernandez is also the Head Coach of the Diving team. Currently UMSL does not have any divers or a diving assistant for Hernandez who is mostly a swimmer himself. The Athletic Department is looking for him to build that program up from the ground and recruit heavily. It’s a perfect opportunity for Hernandez to add to the UMSL brand, through students and competition.
The Tritons opened the season with the Show-Me Showdown on September 29. The Triton Women competed against six other schools in the Missouri region. The Men competed against seven other schools in the Missouri region. “It’s a high-energy meet to get students started in swimming faster,” said Hernandez. “I learned a lot about our athletes through this first meet.” The Triton’s next meet is at Truman State/Maryville on October 13.
The Men’s and Women’s teams both have ten members and typically a roster will have a total of 20. Hernandez is working diligently to bring in recruits in the hopes that the school will have a super team in coming years. This also means that UMSL will be able to properly compete with other schools and meets. It will allow the team to have an equal number of team races to individual races.
The Tritons are really pushing this week for their aerobic fitness. Hernandez wants to see how far they can really go this week. Medicine ball work, running, and stretch rope work for shoulders. These types of workouts for swimmers are called dryland work. Tritons should she great results in their time trials following this week, which is what Hernandez wants.
“I think it’s really nice to share this experience with other great athletes,” said Alvaro Zaragoza, senior, business administration. “This is my last season and I want to enjoy it and beat my best times in the backstroke.”
“My goal is to qualify for NCAA Nationals this year,” said Nico Ruiz, senior, international business. “I’m debating pursuing professional swimming in Brazil after UMSL.”
“Being a swimming student athlete is very hard, but you learn goals, time management, and values,” said Angie Quiroga, senior, biology. “This season is the last chance to enjoy the team, my coach, and improve my times.