The fear of the unknown may benefit the TCU swimming and diving team this season, said head coach Richard Sybesma.”We’re a question mark,” Sybesma said.
Sybesma said the Mountain West Conference will showcase tougher competition, and that he feels the team is under-ranked.
“The new conference is going to be harder than last year,” said junior swimmer Aran Bean. “We’re going to have to step it up.”
Bean said the Frogs will get a fresh start in the new conference because the Mountain West teams have not yet seen the Frogs at a conference meet.
Senior swimmer Leann Cathcart said the team is seen as the underdogs.
“There is tougher competition in sprinting and in the depth of the other teams,” Cathcart said.
According to the Mountain West polls, the men’s team is No. 3, the women’s team No. 4.
The Frogs’ Mountain West competitors may not be ready for them. The men have won the Conference USA title the past four years. The women placed second last year.
“We were second by a hair,” Sybesma said. “It came down to the last event.”
Veteran swimmers say they are looking forward to the challenge of continuing their success in a new conference.
“(The new conference) is new motivation,” said Bean. “We’re all excited about getting a fresh start.”
Veteran swimmers said training has also intensified and, with the addition of this year’s transfers and freshmen, the team has started to come together.
The freshmen are matching the intensity of the veterans.
“I really like the freshmen,” Bean said. ” They are meshing well with the team.”
A team that plays well together works well together.
“A team that meshes well is more competitive,” Cathcart said.
Cathcart said the training in the water is the same as last season, but intensity is increasing earlier because of the earlier meets in the schedule.
The team has been training with the coaches since Sept. 7, Sybesma said.
He said he considers many of the freshmen to be key players that will do a lot for the team.
“Guillermo Ramirez and Alejandro Gomez are both champions that I think will bring another dynamic to the team,” Sybesma said.
Sybesma said there is only so much the team can do swimming against each other.
“We need a meet,” Sybesma said.
Sybesma said the team could be a good “in-season” team, but wants to focus toward the championship.
The Frogs will get their first taste of conference play at its first meet Oct. 21-22 at the Early Bird Invitational at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo.
Fans can see the Frogs at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Varsity/Alumni meet in the University Recreation Center.