This week, the UCLA swim and dive team will travel cross-country to Greensboro, North Carolina to compete in the AT&T; Winter National Championships.
The four-day event, running from Wednesday to Saturday, will mark the Bruins’ first major road trip of the season. It also sets the team up to face the obstacle of a three-hour time difference.
“Our biggest challenge will be adjusting to the time change,” said sophomore Linnea Mack. “It can drain you and put your body a little out of whack.”
While the change in time may pose difficulties for this upcoming meet, it does so with hopes of a greater results.
The location of this meet is the same as that of the NCAA championships. The team chose this meet to attend specifically because they believe that getting a feel for the competition stage now will give them an advantage when they return for the championship in the upcoming year.
“That’s one of the major reasons we’re going,” said junior Katie Kinnear. “We’re going to try and see how the pool is and get used to it. That way in March, we know what to expect. It will be a little bit harder, but in the long run it will pay off.”
After having Thursday and Friday off for Thanksgiving break, the team hopes the work it did at home will benefit from going into this week’s meet. Coach Cyndi Gallagher said she is confident that the time at home was a positive thing for the girls.
“Going home for them means getting their batteries reenergized. They all came back excited to be back and in a good place,” Gallagher said.
Unlike any other meet of the season, the Bruins face off against mainly east coast teams in a competition sized larger than their normal meets. Gallagher understands this poses a new challenge for the Bruins which they must be ready to adapt to.
“There (are) going to be over 800 people there,” Gallagher said. “We are used to a lot less people. It’s going to be different.”
Regardless of any differences or challenges this meet throws at the Bruins, Gallagher believes the team’s main goal remains the same.
“We are looking for it to be another opportunity to improve. Our goal is always to just improve from where we were,“ Gallagher said.