January 12, 2008

On a day when the Packers win big to move into the NFC Championship game its worthwhile to repeat the words of Vince Lombardi. "It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get back up."

How would the guys respond - to a month away from racing, to tough week of training, to the (albiet one interrupted by tornados), to not having one of our top swimmers in the lineup (more about that later this week) to a flu bug spreading like the plague and to the prospect of facing a Big Ten team?

Their responses, as it turned out, ran the gamut. Some siezed the opportunity to race against a Division I top-twenty school. Some stood in awe of their impressive record-board and some others were intimidated by it. Most raced hard even though their bodies were telling them no.

Overall, we had a very good day. Both our 200 Medley and 400 Freestyle relays ranked as the fastest unrested relays in school history (and 9th-fastest overall). We picked up our first-ever individual wins against a "real" Division I team (Stephen in the 100 breast and 200 IM). We also had three backstroke lead-off legs go faster than any leadoff split we had from last year and were far more competitive against the Wildcats than we we're last year.

What it showed me is that this young team is continuing to grow and continuing to learn what it takes to develop into a championship-caliber group. Its fun to watch that process evolve and makes me excited see what this team is capable of in the weeks and months ahead. More than that, though, I'm excited to think of what this team could accomplish over the course of their careers.

The schedule doesn't lighten up in the coming weeks. This weekend we will split squads and send one group to the Grinnell Invitational and another to challenge the defending NCAA Champion Kenyon and #10 Ashland. After that we take on our conference rival Wheaton and a very dangerous-looking Chicago team. Just more learning opportunities for the youngsters.



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