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Swim, dive team experiences early success

November 18, 2010

The UW-River Falls Swimming and Diving teamhas started their season 2-0, with a recent record setting win at home against Ripon College.

The men’s team has won their only two meets this season, while the women’s team has posted a win and a loss.

“The season is going really well,” said interim head coach Ryan Hawke. “We have a couple more injuries than I expected coming into it, but for the most part I’m really pleased with how the swimmers are improving.”

Hawke said that improvements are coming both as a team as well as individually.

“Caitlin Gargulak actually set her personal best in the 500 [meter] at our Macalester meet and then broke her own record at the next meet,” Hawke said. “So that kind of thing is nice to see.”

Hawke stressed that the team’s strengths and weaknesses come with each swimmer. He added that depth and numbers play a factor in the strength of the team.

“When we swim some of the bigger schools like Eau Claire, they’re going to have 40 girls and 30 guys,” Hawke said. “So our 15 guys and 15 girls are going to be a little outnumbered.”

“With the girls we sometimes don’t even have enough people to fill each lane, so we are automatically giving up points right there,” Hawke added.

The Falcons turn to senior leadership this season, while also finding strength in returning underclassman.

“All of our seniors and all of our returning swimmers have stepped up and pulled themselves into a leadership role, which I really like to see,” Hawke said. “Not just the captains stepping in, but the juniors and sophomores are stepping in to help out when something needs to be done.”

Senior men’s captain Dan Blasberg said in an e-mail that he notices team improvement.

“The season is going very well,” Blasberg said. “Many of the swimmers are swimming faster than last season.”

“Coach Hawke is doing very well as head coach,” Blasberg added. “I am very pleased with his performance on the deck and off. One thing I am very pleased with is his ability to socialize with swimmers. I feel like he knows every swimmer’s strengths and weaknesses and is able to manage that into practices and meets so that we are getting the full benefit of our workouts.”

With the absence of a pool on campus, the Falcons are confined to the use of the River Falls High School facilities.

“I am very happy with our situation at the high school,” Blasberg said. “However, I do think that the team would definitely benefit from a campus pool. It would allow us to choose better practice times, it would look more professional and lastly, I think it would promote swimming better.”

Hawke said that the installation of a new facility on campus would be beneficial to the team.

“I think that would allow us easier scheduling times, which would be nice for the kids,” Hawke said.

The Falcon’s next meet is away at Lawrence University on Nov. 13, when both the men’s and women’s teams take on the Vikings.