Asmall team can still have big dreams, which the University of Dallas Swim Club looked to prove over the weekend as they competed in their first meet of the season at the Big Tex Invitational at the University of Texas at Dallas on Saturday. The team had been prepping since the beginning of the semester, utilizing the consistently warm weather to practice three to four times a week in the campus pool.
Taking advantage of the on-campus pool, however, was not as easy as it may have seemed. “Unfortunately, the lifeguards often didn’t show up,” said senior President of the swim club Jake Loel. “And often, when they did show up, the pool was dirty, so we had a little bit of … trouble preparing for the meet.”
Despite this obstacle, the team made the most of what they had, using their minimal prep time to the best of their abilities. Although only five members of the team were able to compete at the Saturday meet, individual talent was on full display, especially through the efforts of junior Nick Dodson.
“It’s always tough at the first meet of the season, but I really felt like I had some decent races,” Dodson said.
Dodson placed fourth in the 50-yard freestyle out of 41 competitors, dropping a half second from his personal best time. Even more impressive, his fourth place finish beat talented swimmers from notable schools.
Teams from the University of Kansas, University of Arkansas and Baylor University were all present at the meet, creating an exciting atmosphere for many of the swimmers.
“In a way it was cool to see the sports teams logos that you see on TV,” said Loel. “Seeing kids wear those jumpers or those clothes that you’re racing with — a little intimidating at first to see, especially KU … but if nothing else, it gave us inspiration.”
Although Loel was not happy with his overall performance, it is clear that the club has the individual talent necessary to make a big impact in the water this year. One thing Loel believes the team needs to work on, however, is team unity. The inconsistent availability of the pool has contributed to this problem, making it difficult to find time when the team can practice together on a regular basis.
With the team beginning to practice at North Lake College from now on, this difficulty will hopefully pass. The pool’s more consistently reliable hours will create a more dependable schedule for the swimmers, something that will prove useful as the team looks forward to the future of the season.
If the team can overcome some of the inherent growing pains that come with starting a sports club at a school like UD, they may have a good shot at upsetting multiple teams in their competitions. Their next chance to prove themselves will come on Nov. 21 at the University of North Texas.