February 1, 2010

The impressive-sounding, but not all that impressive Wisconsin Private College Championships are in the books, and with it, our final races prior to the CCIW and NCAA Championships.

It's funny to think about it now, but nobody on our team can remember a time when we didn't win this meet or every relay as a part of it. Only Rip and Alex are even able to remember this meet being held anyplace but Carthage and nobody wants to remember just how long the meet used to take. That's a far cry from when I got here and the upperclassmen explained that one of their goals was to win back the "Championship".

Today its a meet where we let the guys choose their own events. and let them take a stab at moving up the all-time lists. As coaches, we use it as an evaluation tool - who should be in what event at CCIW's. Who will (and won't) make the conference team?

Some things that stood out this weekend:
  • Our medley relays may have some life after all! We split them up and the top two weren't far off our season best. If we pick the right four, I think we can make a run at Wheaton's top-ten ranked medleys.
  • Ryan Ortmann is beginning to show why he should be one of the nation's premiere sprinters. He went a lifetime best and broke Edgar Vargas' meet record with a slow start and bad breakout. He's also probably off the hook for the 200 freestyle at conference following his is 54.7 fly.
  • 200 IM - We don't have a "true" 200 IM'er, but a lot of pretty good ones. We'll be looking for someone to break through here.
  • Nathan Ripley - wins his 4th straight 100 free title with a new meet record. He's emerged from our heaviest training and starting to show flashes of what we know he can do.
  • Breaststrokes - We've got a logjam in the 1:02-1:04 range. We need a 58.5 and watching these guys improve every week gives us optimism.
  • 200 Free Relay - Carroll breaks a seven-year string of relay wins, BUT check out that 22.32 anchor split out of a miler - Eric Ross?
  • 100 Butterfly - Everyone loves swimming the 100 fly at this meet. I'm never really sure why, but we learned that we do have some more potential here.
The final evaluation of this weekend's meet is a solid B+. The guys answered a lot of questions, and in a couple of cases even showed enough versatility that we will have several weapons at our disposal come conference time. In fact, putting together this year's CCIW lineup is going to be more challenging than ever before. Take a guy like Isaac Rothenbaum. He's really a 200 freestyler, but he's ranked in the top eight in the 100 breaststroke. If we put him in breaststroke, it leaves him better rested for the 800 free relay at night, but it potentially knocks some of our breaststrokers out of the top eight.

It's an interesting set of questions, and we'll need to get most of them right to defend last year's conference title.



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