Swimming and diving
Texas Hall of fame Invitational
Today through Saturday
It’s often said that everything is bigger in Texas. The UCLA swimming and diving team, which heads to Austin for the Texas Hall of Fame Invitational this weekend, hopes this adage will ring true for their scores in this prestigious meet.
“There’s somebody really, really good in every event,” diving coach Tom Stebbins said. “We’re going to get to see a lot of really good competition and, hopefully, be a part of it.”
The invitational, hosted by the University of Texas, will run today through Saturday. Swimming teams from across the country will be competing, including UC Davis, which UCLA defeated, and Pac-10 foe Arizona, which is the only team to have bested UCLA this season in a dual meet. The divers will also face off against a variety of opponents, including Pac-10 rival California.
In order to succeed against such talented competition, the Bruins will need to continue the streak of season-best times that marked last month’s Arena Invitational. With none of the talented freshman sprinters attending the meet ““ swimming coach Cyndi Gallagher’s school-first policy insists that first-year swimmers focus on finals instead ““ the Bruins’ relays will suffer, but the strong veteran force competing in the meet promises some standout performances.
“We’ve been training really hard, and we’ve had this week to get a little rest, so it’s going to be exciting to see what we can do,” junior sprinter Madison Fitzgerald said.
Because of the limited number of swimmers competing in the invitational, those who are making the trip will have the opportunity to display their best effort in a variety of events before the notoriously difficult winter training season begins.
“We’ll step back after we get back from Texas and really evaluate what needs to be changed, and work specifically on those things,” Gallagher said. “When we get to winter, it’s all about individualized program training.”
This race-specific training will be crucial if the Bruins want to excel in the rest of the season, which consists of more invitationals and dual meets against powerhouses like Stanford, Cal and USC. Strong performances this weekend will indicate that the swimmers are close to achieving NCAA “A”-cuts, which will guarantee them spots in March’s national championship meet.
“For the most part, if they swim fast in December, they’re ready to go,” Gallagher said. “All they have to do is stay motivated.”