The Seattle University swim teams are primed for the 2012 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Swimming Championships, to take place Wednesday through Saturday, Feb. 15-18, at East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park, Calif.
After a grueling practice and meet schedule since September, the team has entered the taper phase of the training schedule. Seattle U head coach Craig Nisgor believes that the rest the swimmers have enjoyed over the past couple of weeks will lead to many personal bests, if not some new school records.
"After training really hard since school went back into session in September, it's time for everyone to reap the benefits and get their bodies rested up to move in the right direction. With everything we have done, the swimmers have put in the work. The endurance should be there, and we hope the speed will be there as well, but their minds also have to be ready to go," Nisgor said.
With little rest throughout the season, the seed times for most of the Redhawk swimmers are a little slower than those for the rest of the teams, as Seattle U practiced and competed at times fighting a little fatigue. However, Nisgor believes that most of the swimmers are capable of posting their best times over the next week and helping the team make an impact during the meet.
On the men's side, both Jordan Anderson (Newberg, Ore.) and Murray Longbotham (Mercer Island, Wash.) were two-time conference champions at last year's meet, and both bring solid seed times into this year's event. Anderson is seeded sixth in the 100 freestyle, seventh in the 50 freestyle, and 10th in the 100 butterfly. Longbotham is seeded sixth in the 200 freestyle, and both men will be counted on to help the relays throughout the championships.
In the men's 200 individual medley, James Gilmore (Eugene, Ore.) is seeded 12th, while Joe Wertz (Richland, Wash.) is right behind him in 15th. Gilmore is also seeded 11th in the 400 individual medley, while Wertz is seeded fourth in the 200 backstroke, the highest seed for any Redhawk male going into the weekend.
For the women, the breaststroke will continue to serve as a strong stroke, led by Alexis Morehouse (Vancouver, Wash.), who is seeded 16th in the 100 breaststroke and ninth in the 200 breaststroke. Teammate Kevlyn Richards (Gig Harbor, Wash.) is close behind, seeded 20th in the 100 breaststroke and 13th in the 200 breaststroke.
The Seattle U women will be competing against BYU, Cal Poly, CSU Bakersfield, Loyola Marymount, Northern Colorado, Pacific, San Diego, UC Davis, and UC Santa Barbara. The men will be facing Air Force, BYU, CSU Bakersfield, Hawaii, North Dakota, Pacific, UNLV, and Wyoming. However, Nisgor is mainly looking for his swimmers to compete at their best, letting the results take care of themselves.
"The swimmers are really starting to see what they can do. Even in practice, they are putting up times that are faster than they have ever posted before," Nisgor said. "We are taking everything one session at a time. If we don't do what we need to do in preliminaries, we won't get to finals."
The meet will start Wednesday at 6 p.m. with the 200 medley relay and the 800 freestyle relay. Nisgor believes that if the team gets off to a good start, then that positive momentum will carry the swimmers through the rest of the weekend.
Links to live stats and live video for the meet are available on the swimming schedule pages of GoSeattleU.com, with a nightly recap expected to be posted on the Seattle U athletics website shortly after the conclusion of each evening session.