Bearcats Prep For BIG EAST Championships
Head coach Monty Hopkins

Feb. 8, 2012

BIG EAST Swimming & Diving Championship Central | Four Bearcats Set for BIG EAST Diving Championships

By Megan Roehm

The University of Cincinnati swimming and diving team concluded the regular season last weekend and is now preparing for the BIG EAST Conference Championship in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The diving championships are February 10-12 and the swimming championships will be February 15-18, and according to head coach Monty Hopkins, if they bring their confidence the Bearcats are definitely ready for the competition.

"I'm expecting us to go fast," Hopkins said. "We've worked hard and these guys have done what I've asked them to do, but the biggest thing is confidence. You aren't going to do what you hope you do, you will do what you believe you can do."

Hopkins said the biggest expectation for the team is that they finish higher than they did last year, placing in the top five overall. According to senior Josefin Wede, Cincinnati has been preparing for this and they are ready for the challenge.

"I think we have been training a lot harder than we did last year and I'm really excited about that," Wede said. "I definitely think we can place in the top five this year."

The men's team finished seventh last year while the women placed sixth, so a top-five finish for both teams would be an improvement from last year and what Hopkins considers a great accomplishment for the team. While they work toward this goal, each swimmer has their own individual goals as well.

Senior Liz Hansson won her first individual BIG EAST crown, setting a school record and NCAA B time of 22.93 last year. She broke her own school record, which was set in the morning preliminary of that meet and she hopes to be successful again in her final BIG EAST Championship.

"I'm not really doing the same events this year, but I'm still hoping that at least in the 100 freestyle I will place in the top three," Hansson said. "Throughout the season I didn't always get the times that I wanted, but I have been practicing a lot harder so I think I can do it."

Senior Haywood Miller also hopes to improve and make his senior BIG EAST Championship his best.

"I think I can get top eight in the 200 breaststroke and 400 IM and top 16 in the 100 or 200 IM, whichever I choose to swim," Miller said. "Whichever relay I end up doing I think we can get top six and medal which would be great."

While coach Hopkins would be pleased to see any of these finishes, he said he will be happy with the effort put in and the outcomes, but will never consider himself "satisfied."

"I'm happy with people who work hard, who do the right thing, who do well in school, who contribute to bettering the team and lift more weight or swim faster today than they did in the beginning. But it is in my nature that I am never satisfied," Hopkins said. "If you win a championship, you should celebrate, but then right after that, you need to get back in the pool and improve."

Swimmers like Junior Roberto Nevarez, who will be competing in 100-yard freestyle, 50-yard freestyle and the 100 butterfly, also see this as an opportunity to do better.

"Last year in the 100 fly I finished sixth place and this year I want to do better than that and place top three," Nevarez said. "I also want to make finals in the 100 free this year."

Overall, the team has been training and working hard to make sure they can do their best at the BIG EAST Championship and that is what they plan to do. When it comes to the BIG EAST teams they will be competing against, the Bearcats are not concerned about their competition as much as their own performance.

"The gray matter between the ears of each of our swimmers is our biggest obstacle because this isn't a sport where you strategize against other people," Hopkins said. "You determine your own performance. We are prepared to go fast, but if the other teams are too, then we can't control that, so we will just do our thing and have fun doing it."