Photo by Elizabeth Nelson
“You have to be exceptional to make it,” said Scott Trompeter, head swimming coach, about the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Swimming Championships in March.
Trompeter, like the athletes on the men’s and women’s swimming teams, is looking a bit ahead. Before the swimmers can make it to Nationals, they must place well at the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) this month at Palo Alto College in San Antonio. But Trompeter has confidence in both teams.
“We have done a great job at the conference meet throughout the programs history,” Trompeter wrote in an email interview. “I believe we have several individuals capable of qualifying [for Nationals], we will do our best to help those goals come to fruition.”
Getting to Nationals is no simple task, according to Trompeter.
“Making that meet is never easy. They only invite 15–20ish athletes in each event from the whole country,” Trompeter wrote. “I think we have people on the team that will likely get invited from swims already swum this season, and conference would be an opportunity to improve upon their seeding going into the meet.”
Daniel Sarman, first-year, is confident about his performance at conference, too.
“I’m not even really thinking of it as trying to win conference. I’m thinking of it as more of a stepping stone almost,” Sarman said. “If I go with the times I want to, we’re going to win conference.”
Sarman explained he’s already seeded first in some of his events and said that he’s not the only one who’s expected to do well at the meet.
“There are people on the team who are definitely already going to Nationals. Like, there’s no way they won’t because they’ve been doing amazing this season, such as Beau [Tipton] and Mabel [Fowler],” Sarman said. “They’re definitely going individually.”
Mabel Fowler, sophomore swimmer, is equally excited about the team’s potential and her own.
“I’ve actually exceeded my expectations this season. It’s given me a lot of confidence to see what I can do,” Fowler said. “I’m really excited for conference — individually for my races and as a team to see what we can do together.”
Throughout the season, the teams have competed against all divisions of schools, including other DIII schools, as well as some DI schools.
“We went up to [Texas Christian University], University of the Incarnate Word and some of the teams we faced at our midseason meet were DII teams, so it wasn’t ever a guaranteed victory,” Sarman said. “The DI teams usually take us on thinking it’ll be an easier meet, and then we give them a harder run than they were expecting.”
Along with making progress through competition, the teams also focused largely on training this season, centering their attention on the specifics.
“My goal’s obviously to get faster, but everyday we’re striving to get the small things that matter,” Fowler said.
While the teams trained over winter break — both returned to campus after eight days off — the time spent together had a positive effect on the team dynamic.
“It was pretty taxing, but our team is really close, so it’s easy to be motivated because we have really good people on the team to keep it going,” Fowler said.
Fowler explained that the atmosphere has been much more positive this year than in years past, and because of that, the team has become closer.
“We’re used to being in practice together, but it’s nice to hang out outside of practice together. We’re just more involved with each others lives now,” Fowler said.
As a first-year, Sarman said he has noticed the positive dynamic and that he considers it one of the reasons for his smooth transition into the Trinity community.
“The team is really well-built, and people are always wanting to compete every day in practice,” Sarman said. “There’s never a day when you can go easy because there’s always someone trying to beat you.”
Although Sarman thinks the seniors’ positivity and drive for success is part of the reason the team’s competition has led to such a positive environment, he explained that the first-years are also a part of the equation.
“I think it comes down to the seniors. This year they’re all trying to focus on making their last year a good one, just living in the moment at practices,” Sarman said. “I think the freshmen also did a good job of that. We came in here wanting to do well, wanting to do well in school and not focusing on other things.”
Trompeter has also noticed the change in dynamic.
“We seem to be getting more cohesive as a team and more supportive,” Trompeter wrote. “That has been a change that has taken place over the last few years.”
The team had their last meet before conference on Jan. 26 and are beginning to train less to get some rest before the meet on Feb. 13–16.
| Class of 2020 | Major: English