Amidst the holiday season and the coming of winter, the Mines’ swim team has been training hard. The team recently competed in the three-day Colorado Mesa University Invitational that took place the weekend before Thanksgiving.
“We had our big mid-season meet where pretty much all of our conference competitors are. We got second which is really good,” sophomore Briana Burns commented.
On the first day of the invitational, both teams took second place overall. On the second day, the women’s team stayed in second and the men’s team came in at third. The CMU Invitational wrapped up on Saturday with the women finishing in second and men in third. During the meet, the Mines team achieved six record-making swims!
“As a team our 800-free relay is really strong,” stated Burns. “We have some really good distance swimmers, so we have some good distance events. Our 400 medley relay is strong too.”
The men did well in several events including the 100-breastroke, 1000-free, 100-back, and 200-free. The women did well in the 100-back, 200-free, and 100-fly. Along with breaking several record times during this specific meet, the team was nationally recognized for its performance.
“The CSCAA national rankings came up and the women’s team was nationally ranked,” exclaimed Burns. “That’s the first time that’s happened in a really long time for the girls.”
The women’s team is ranked #25 in the CSCAA Division II Coaches’ Poll. This is the first time they have been ranked since the 2008-2009 season.
The team’s most recent meet was a home meet against Colorado College on Dec. 5. The men beat Colorado College by a large margin, while the women’s team was able to clinch the win by a small margin in the 200-free relay, one of the last events of the meet.
“It’s easy at this time of the year to get injured because it’s when we start getting tired. It’s easy to stop focusing on your technique. Those technical flaws make it easier to injure yourself. Most of them are not serious, but it can definitely become an issue,” commented Burns.
With end-of-the-year projects and exams making it difficult to focus on swimming, the team has strategies to combat fatigue and keep its motivation.
“We’ve been really focusing on eating healthy, conserving energy in different ways, and how to behave in a meet to maximize energy,” stated Burns. “As a team what we can do to get better is really just focusing on the training and focusing on the little things.”
At this point in the season, it can become hard to stay motivated, but the team is staying strong and not losing focus.
“Staying motivated really depends on the person, but a lot of it is our team dynamic. We really support each other so were able to keep going. Meets are great for team bonding and getting re-excited about the season,” said Burns. This support from each other is part of what makes the Mines team unique and gives it an extra edge against other schools.
“One thing that is interesting about our team is that we stand and cheer for each other for thee-night meet which is really great for team bonding and motivation,” claimed Burns. “We can get a little tired, but I think the motivation compensates for that!”
Contrary to a lot of other schools, teammates at Mines support each other. They compete against one another to make each other better.
“One thing that I really like about this team is that while we’re really competitive, we are actually friends and stay as a team. It is something that is really special about the Mines team because we really don’t have real rivalries,” said Burns. “We know the people we’re going to compete against, but we’re still friends with them and we want each other to do well.”
As finals and winter break are approaching, the team nears the most training intensive part of the season. Swimmers have to prepare for the RMAC Championships in February and the NCAA Championships in March.
“We practice through finals week up until that Saturday after, and then we have two weeks off and come back the fourth,” stated Burns. “We have two weeks of ‘training trip,’ and that is the hardest two weeks of our year. That’ll be intense, but we’ll be ready for the upcoming meets.”
The next meet is at CSU Pueblo on Jan. 8 after the holiday break.