The University of Cincinnati swimming and diving team hit the pool this weekend for a couple of meets against Cleveland State University and the University of South Carolina.
Friday night, the men and women both won in dominating fashion, as the Bearcats swept all 13 events against the Vikings of Cleveland State.
Going forward, freshman distance swimmer Toby Van Dyke said the victories will provide them with added confidence throughout the season.
“That gives us a ton of confidence because we knew they were going to be competitive; we knew they were going to come at us,” Van Dyke said. “We also knew we had two meets this weekend, so we really had to get going on the first, so it gave us a ton of confidence going into [the second meet], and I think it showed across the board.”
Against the Gamecocks on Saturday, the Bearcats men and women both suffered their first loss of the season.
Despite the losses, head coach Mandy Commons-DiSalle believes the team performed well, and that the experience helped show them what it takes to compete against bigger schools.
“It really helps give us confidence that we have to rise to the level of competition, and we have to swim people who are faster,” Commons-DiSalle said. “We have to compete against better schools and better programs if we are going to continue to improve our skills. I think for them, it gives them confidence knowing that they can come up and hold their own against a team like South Carolina and get some wins out of it, which was really impressive.”
Among those who stepped up and impressed Commons-DiSalle was Van Dyke, who won the 1,000-yard freestyle Friday, and 200-yard butterfly both Friday and Saturday.
“He comes in every day with the mindset that he is going to destroy everyone in practice,” Commons-DiSalle said. “I’m really happy to see his racing come full-circle. He got his first collegiate win last night, and came back today with a lot of strong races. He has been really impressive in practice, and I think if we can continue to hone in on helping him make some improvement that he needs, he is going to have a stellar first year.”
Van Dyke said the biggest reason for his early success has been his teammates who have pushed him along throughout.
“I knew coming in that we were going to have excellent training partners,” Van Dyke said. “That is a big part of why I came here. Everyone around me is so competitive and so driven to win. I know that I have the encouragement of all my teammates, and after a couple meets, I am definitely getting a lot more comfortable. The team has made the adjustment really easy.”
Cincinnati returns to the water Nov. 4 to take on Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis at 11 a.m. in the Keating Aquatic Centre.