The Air Force Academy is not the only element that affects the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams when they travel to Denver, head coach Richard Sybesma said.
There’s also the altitude.
Before last weekend’s meet out west, the Frogs had never beaten Air Force in the high altitude.
Sybesma said the altitude has been a reoccurring problem for his team against Air Force in the past, especially late in previous meets, but that the team was able to handle the elevation this time.
“We had an awesome trip,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier. We finally beat them at their place.”
Sybesma said one of the biggest keys to the team’s victory was freshman Aran Bean, who set the pool record in the 200 breast with a 2:07.76 time.
“He’s our awesome Aussie in the pool,” Sybesma said. “Aran is a fierce competitor and he’s also a dynamic person.
“He’s the real deal. A true student-athlete.”
Bean said he did not feel as though he swam any faster than usual during his record-setting race and that the “quick” pool was responsible for his performance.
“It felt pretty good,” Bean said. “I felt like I had good speed, but I didn’t think it was anything record-setting. I didn’t even realize I had set the record until someone told me when I got out of the pool.”
Bean, a 21-year-old from Australia, said the record and his other successes this season are more than welcome, but he never anticipated them.
“I didn’t really know what to expect when I came here from Australia at all,” he said. “I didn’t come in with too many expectations or expecting massive things to happen. We’ll see at the end of the season.”
Sybesma said he attributes Bean’s immediate success at the collegiate level to his competitiveness and ability to perform under pressure.
“He’s a really great meet swimmer and one of the best competitors I’ve seen,” he said.
However, Sybesma said he realizes the teams’ great records and successes are not the result of any one individual.
“We’ve got a good team, not only in the pool but also outside it,” Sybesma said. “Those kids are classy. We win with confidence and class.”
Bean said the team’s great season can also be attributed to the close bond the swimmers from the two teams have with one other.
“This team, it’s really amazing,” he said. “Everyone out here gets together so well. I think everyone puts in their part and leads at the same time.”
Despite the men’s record (8-0) and the women’s record (8-1), Sybesma said the team will have no trouble remaining a humble, close knit group the rest of the season.
“The teams we swim against keep us humble,” he said. “We have a confident team, not a cocky team. We aren’t afraid of any team.”
The Frogs host their first home meet in two months this weekend, as Houston visits 7 p.m. Friday and New Mexico and Florida 11 a.m. Saturday.