Eagles dive into action

Zakyra Colvin

 

Georgia Southern University’s swimming and diving team has taken it a step further this season to make it into the top two in its conference, the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA).

“We ended up third in our conference championship meet the past two or three years, and obviously we’re looking to make the next step and crack into the top two,” head coach Nathan Kellogg said.

The team has been hard at work this year to achieve this goal. They have had a total of nine practices with a balanced and focused team this year, Kellogg said.

“I feel like we’re pretty balanced this year, balanced in all the events,” Kellogg said. “We have really good divers, our breaststroke group is one of the best in the conference. I think we have really high quality kids in every event.”

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the girls run before practice and they also have Saturday morning practices.

“We practice six days a week and we practice at 6 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday,” junior freestyle swimmer Amber Juncker said. “Then we come back in the afternoon to do a practice at three, and after we swim, we go to weights.”

During his time at GSU, Kellogg has broken seven records and says that this job has taught him a lot.

“I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned is that they’re not just swimmers, they’re people. They’re human beings that have lives outside of the pool,” Kellogg said. “Even though that’s only when I see them, is at the pool, they have lives and activities outside of swimming that affect them a lot.”

The Eagles compete in the CCSA, which is comprised of different universities from different divisions whose division did not have enough teams to sponsor swimming and diving.  Other teams from the Southern Conference include Davidson College and Radford University.

“I think I’m most excited for conference just because that’s when everyone comes together. It’s the last meet and everyone’s just so ready to go,” sophomore backstroke swimmer Christina Moran said.  “We prepare through the dual meets and Christmas training and its always just fun being together with the team through all of that, the whole process is exciting.”

Kellogg said all of this training is for conference, but specifically to meet overall better times at conference and have a higher amount of team points at the end of the season. It extends back to last season.

“A lot of players were happy with their performance and some weren’t and there’s only one place to change that, in the pool, by working really hard in the off-season,” Kellogg said.  “It’s usually the things that you don’t like to do that are the things that you need to do to get better.”

It is obvious that the swimming and diving team means business, but in swimming, the team is not the only important part, the individual swimmer and their drive and overall performance are equally important.

“The cool thing about swimming is that it’s objective.  You’re not being judged by anybody else.  It’s just the swimmer and the lanes,” Kellogg said. “I think that’s why swimming is such an honest sport because the clock never lies, and it’s pretty much up to each individual, how they’re going to push it and that’s really one of the things I enjoy about swimming.”

The swimming and diving team will have a total of 19 meets, 10 are conference meets, and four are home meets. The Eagles will next compete in the Dowd Nike Cup beginning on Thursday and ending Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C.