February 13, 2007

Yes, yes, yes, I know the recap from CCIW's is overdue. I'll be getting to it in the next day. First off, many, many thanks to all of the parents and alumni who made it to the meet. First thanks go to the parents for taking such great care of us over the weekend. I've taken teams the the Big Ten Championships, NCAA Division I's, and Olympic Trials, but there is no better setup than what we have. The ability to go straight from finals to food to bed is perfect.

Next shout out goes to the alums. It was great to see just about every single alum from my era either come back or call to wish the guys good luck! As most of you know, I don't often get sentimental, but it means a great deal that we've managed to put together a program you can all take such pride in. We didn't take home the trophy this weekend, but I'm here to tell you that this is truly a group you can be proud of. A couple of examples from this weekend - during the captain's meeting to elect the CCIW's Most Outstanding Participant, it was Carthage that helped nominate a Wheaton guy, Rob Morris, who came back after a collapsed lung this fall. Second, after Wheaton received the trophy, as other teams were headed out the door, our guys made their way over to the podium to be the first in line to congratulate the new (and hopefully temporary) champions. I've never seen anything like that at a championship meet and hope its the start of a great tradition.

OK, the quick take - second place. Yes, not what we were angling for, but we did take a measure of satisfaction of knowing that we scored more points per person than any other team there, and for the first time EVERY SINGLE GUY on our team scored individually. It was the definition of TOTAL TEAM EFFORT. It was a meet where we had to take some risks to have a chance. Some worked perfectly, some didn't, but in the process, hopefully the lesson was that you only fail if you don't make the attempt. Or, as you alums have heard me say - only those risking to go far ever know how far they can go.

We've got three guys in the meet for sure - Zach is ranked 2nd or 3rd in the 100 breast with a new CCIW Championship record of 56.6 (also named swimmer of the meet with three wins and the fastest time in the 400 IM, an exhibition swim of 4:07.7). Steve is also up there, 3rd or 4th in the nation in the 200 breast. Pelka lapped the field in the mile en route to a CCIW Meet record - 15:59. That should be good enough to get him towards the middle of the second heat at NCAA's. NCAA 'B' cuts in the 200 Free Relay (a weak one), 200 Medley Relay, and 400 Medley Relay. The 400 Med is sitting around 11th in the country whereas the 200 Med is about 9th. We'll head to Chicago for his weekend's last chance meet. If we can shave another 0.13 off that medley we'll jump up two places where we can all breathe a little easier. There are probably three teams left that can go faster than us, but I'm not sure if there's a 4th. (Of course we all remember MIT).

The guys headed to Chicago are psyched, and probably the most focused and best prepared mentally of any group we've taken to a last chance meet. If we get any of the relays in it will bring us to six qualifiers - surely enough to do some damage at the national level.

More later - I promise.



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