|Vandals at WAC Meet|
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The University of Idaho swimming and diving team has, coach Mark Sowa admits, exceeded the expectations he had for it when he began his first season as the Vandals’ head coach last summer.
He’s equally quick to admit, this team isn’t finished yet.
“We have some lofty goals for this team,” Sowa said as the Vandals completed their preparations for the Western Athletic Conference Championship Meet, which runs Wednesday through Saturday this week. “We feel like we are in a good position in just about every event to have someone scoring.”
Unlike the dual meets that have occupied the Vandals most of the season, the WAC meet is a trials and finals event that is sure to tax even the most prepared competitors. Sowa gave the Vandals a test of the conference format at the Houston Cougar Classic earlier this season and he says most of his competitors have experience with the format from their club days.
“It’s going to be really taxing,” he said. “They’re prepared for it. We train twice a day throughout the year. They’re used to going fast twice a day. … It’s a challenge but it’s a challenge for everybody.”
That’s not to say he doesn’t expect jitters to be absent when they hit the water for the first race Wednesday.
“There will be some nerves going into it,” he said. “We’ve talked all year long about staying focused and taking one thing at a time.”
That ability to focus has led to eight school records falling this season with everyone from freshmen to seniors contributing to the record-book revision.
Senior Savannah Bettis is the new owner of the 200 butterfly record with junior diver Paige Hunt notching the 3-meter event mark. Senior Si Jia Pang joined forces with sophomore Megan Venlos and freshmen Rachel Millet and Erica Anderson to claim the 800 free relay record.
As strong as all those performances and performers have been, it is Millet who has had a stunning first season. In just a few months in the water for the Vandals, she has set the 50, 100 and 200 free records as well as the 100 fly mark. Also making a big splash as a freshman is Anderson, who not only is a member of the record-setting relay team but she set the standard in the 200 IM as well.
Click here to follow the meet live.