Campout Brings Swimmers Together
Sept. 23, 2008
By Adam Kiefaber
CINCINNATI - The Xavier University swimming team recently cheered each other on as they tried to master the high ropes course at Camp Joy in Wilmington, Ohio. Come October, the squad will be cheering each other on while they attempt to shatter more school records in the pool.
Before they can cheer one another on against opposing schools, some will be forced to face off against each other in the Blue vs. White Intrasquad Meet this Saturday, Sept. 27 at 9 a.m.
The intrasquad competition, which will be held at the O’Conner Sports Center on XU’s campus, provides head coach Steve Riegler and his assistant coaches Brent MacDonald and Shane Jenkins a good opportunity to evaluate their team before the regular season opener on Oct. 11.
“It gives us the opportunity, as coaches, to see our freshmen compete for the first time and kind of see how they handle the situation racing against their teammates,” Riegler said. “It also gives us a building block of what we want to do for our first couple of dual meets in October. It might help us set our lineup based on what we see.”
While this weekend might technically be the opening weekend of the swimming season, if you ask any XU swimmer they will tell you the season started at Camp Joy.
“The trip officially marks the start of the season. Even though we have been training since August, heading to camp allows us to get away from school and practice and to look ahead to our season,” junior swimmer Mark Febus said.
Looking ahead to the season was one of the key points to the overnight trip, however the biggest point of the trip was to help build team unity.
After arriving on Friday afternoon, the team broke the ice by gathering around in a circle where each of the teammates said their name and an interesting fact about themselves. Later, they played Ultimate Frisbee, grilled out and sat around a campfire roasting s’mores and telling ghost stories.
“We were all around this campfire and it was really cool to see all of us together because we all have different practice times and if you are in a different practice group sometimes you won’t see people for the whole week,” Febus said. “It was a really good chance for us to hang out together, get to know the freshmen and others that we haven’t really talked too.”
In between all the fun, the coaches broke in and discussed the team’s goals for the upcoming season. Obviously the goals are high after the Xavier men’s and women’s teams finished with their highest point totals ever at last year’s Atlantic 10 Championship.
“Last year was a tremendous year, the best year for both programs in the history of the school with the women coming in as the runners up in the A-10. For us to place that high without having diving really says a lot about the state of where our program is,” Riegler said.
The coach also commented on the men’s side that had an impressive third place finish despite not having the extra diving points. Both sides shattered many school records last season and hope to build on that success.
Before they can start on that success, the team worked on building team relationships on the high ropes course. During the activity, each swimmer was paired up with a partner, and together they had to make it through the course.
While each teammate bonded, the entire team really came together as they cheered for each other on all sides of the course. This season, expect to see the Musketeers cheering one another on from all sides of the pool.
“You know that you have to rely on your teammates. The experience we had at Camp Joy reminds us of that,” Riegler said. “It is really good to have the support of your teammates, not just the ones you were partnered with, but everybody rooting you on from all sides. That is going to be something that we expect to see at our meets, cheering for each other making sure we are all rooting each other on to reach our goals.”