The Simpson swimming and diving team has just begun and the squad has high hopes. Two meets in, they have opened up with a 1-1 dual meet record.
Head Coach Tom Caccia has a goal every year to place higher than past years in the Liberal Arts Championships at the end of the season, but this year the team has another big goal.
“Our goal this year has been to revamp the attitude and we are well on the way of doing that,” Caccia said. “We cannot build a team if we don’t have a good attitude, and just doing the yardage is not going to make it. Now we have the team dynamics functioning and that is already showing.”
The Storm women lost their first meet on Oct. 20 to Nebraska Wesleyan University, 119-76. But they earned top finishes in diving by senior Naomi Olsgaard, breaking the 6 dive record. Freshman Alyssa Harris also earned a top finish in the 100 yard butterfly and 200 yard individual medley.
“I loved the first meet,” Harris said. “I was so excited to see what my first college meet was going to be like. I got to see my competition on other teams and I formed closer bonds to my teammates through the experience.”
The men also lost the meet 143-50. Sophomore Noah Nelson finished first in the 100 yard breaststroke and 200 yard individual medley.
“The first meet went great for me individually. I can see some new personal best times coming this year,” said sophomore Noah Nelson. “As for the team, I think that we did really well. Especially when we were stacked up against a school like Nebraska Wesleyan. I saw a lot of great potential and I’m looking forward to what my teammates are going to accomplish this year.”
The women did bounce back though, winning their first meet on Oct. 27 against Tabor College, 93-91. The Storm had four first place finishes, helping them gain separation from their opponent.
“In my second meet my shoulder was in so much pain, but I pushed through it for a decent time in my 200 yard fly and to help the team out in points,” Harris said. “Winning the second meet felt amazing. Made me gain more motivation to try even harder and to push myself more in practice.”
The men had six first place finishes in a win against Tabor College 88-71. Nelson had two more first place finishes in the 400 yard individual medley and 500 yard freestyle.
“Winning our second meet was an amazing moral boost for the whole team. It was fun leaving the pool with our chins held high,” Nelson said, “Whether we win or lose I think that there is always something to take away from a meet to help yourself improve.”
The Storm are looking to continue the strong start to the year and compete with every team they face.
“I think that we are off to a good start. We have people who are swimming close to their best times and if we are swimming close to our best times at this point in the season we are ahead of last year,” Caccia said, “We have the men who have completely rewritten the record board in five years and the women have got three quarters of the records broken in the last five years, now it’s a matter of focusing on particular ones.”
The team is looking forward to the rest of the season, particularly what they can do at the invitationals, on how the team can place against teams in a different scoring meet.
“The two Grinnell meets are a focus because scoring at an invitational is a lot different than at a dual meet,” Caccia said. “Dual meets are a lot about depth and having a smaller number team the depth doesn’t always show at a dual meet. So, at duals my goal for us is to swim good competition.”
He explained that the team wants to swim in different types of pools and in different situations in order to establish strong times before competing at invitationals.
“So we can have the scores higher to what we are capable of scoring as a team in an innovational situation,” he added.
The results will not come easy, and there is still training to be done by all members of the team.
“We are training harder than ever. Coach has been giving us some really challenging sets and I’ve never felt more prepared to swim fast,” Nelson said.
The Storm knows what they need to prepare for the rest of their season, they’ll look to improve on Saturday at St. Ambrose.