It is rare in any sport for a one-loss team to consider themselves underdogs at a home meet.
Though, for the men’s swimming and diving team, it’s just that.
Fresh off their first loss of the season last Saturday to No. 5 Florida, the Frogs (8-1) plan to play the role of spoiler tonight when they host Southern Methodist University.
Head coach Richard Sybesma said despite being heavy underdogs, the Frogs are more than capable of pulling off the upset against one of their biggest rivals.
“We just have to be confident, not cocky,” Sybesma said. “I don’t like that word at all. But one thing about underdogs is that they come to compete. And we will compete.”
Senior Aaron McLachlan said they are more than capable of overcoming their only loss this season, even though the team may be the underdog against SMU.
“I think we’ll bounce back pretty well,” he said. “This will be a real close meet. It should be intense against a great rival.”
If they hope to bounce back, Sybesma said the team must be ready to compete at the beginning of the meet. He said slow starts have hurt the team in recent meets and that they must improve in their long-distance races.
McLachlan agrees that a good start is needed during the first few races if they want to defeat the Mustangs.
“We have to get off to a good start in the first relay because then anything can happen,” McLachlan said. “This is so important for us as a team.”
He said the Frogs should not have any problem getting off to a fast start against their rival, especially because they expect to compete in front of more fans tonight than they have all season long.
“We’ll have more people show up at this one meet than we have all year long,” McLachlan said. “I know the girl’s team will be here cheering us on. It should be pretty intense.”
Intense it will be for senior David Tietze, who squares off against his father’s alma mater for only the second time in four years.
“For me, it’s more of a personal issue because my dad swam for SMU,” said Tietze, whose father is deceased. “It’s a big rivalry SMU and TCU and I am looking forward to the opportunity to compete against one of the better schools in the nation.”
McLachlan said the additions the Frogs have made to last year’s roster, a team that lost 134-88 to SMU, should allow TCU to be more competitive this time around.
“We have better depth this year than we did last time,” he said. “Last year, we went to their pool and they swam real well and we almost beat them. We have a chance at upsetting them.”