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Ohio State swimming teams near achievement in, out of pool

Cody Cousino / Photo editor

The potent aroma of chlorine that hits the nose upon entering the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion smells like home to the undefeated men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams at Ohio State.

Nearly halfway through the 2012 season schedule, the players and coaches are closer to achieving their goals of capturing Big Ten titles and NCAA success.

Both the men’s and women’s teams are undefeated in dual meet competition and are led by a group of athletes who have posted commanding victories against every opponent they’ve met.

“We have swam and trained unbelievably hard so far this season,” said senior Stephen Sakaris. “The training never stops. If you’re out of the pool for one day, when you get back in, you feel like you’ve missed a week.”

The women’s team, largely guided by junior Megan Detro, who set school records in the 100 free, 50 free and was on four relay teams that set school records.

Most recently, the women Buckeyes posted a 164.5-132.5 victory against the Michigan Wolverines which included individual wins in three freestyle events, the 100 and 200 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and three-meter diving competition among others.

The men’s team is preparing to take on Michigan this weekend.

“It’s always more intense when it’s your rival team,” said senior Matthieu Baumann. “It doesn’t matter about the time you have, as long as you touch the wall before Michigan, then you’ve done your job.”

Baumann said focus is what keeps his team moving.

“People know that when you’re in the pool, you’re in the pool, and nothing else matters,” he said. “People put aside all the academics and social part of their lives for the four hours of the day and just put in the hard work and get it done.”

However, academics are not ignored for long. Once out of the water, the men’s team earned a combined 3.25 grade point average during Fall Quarter.

Three members of the team reached a perfect 4.0.

Even with a stellar GPA, members of the men’s team agree there is always room for improvement.

“What makes our team great is that everyone is looking for ways to get better,” Baumann said. “Our coach loves to brag that he has 50 coaches at practice because he really preaches everyone to watch their peers and give them some sort of advice to get better.”

Both teams will travel to Iowa City, Iowa to compete in the Big Ten Championships in February. The women’s team placed third last year, a 17-year best for the squad.

“We continue to improve,” said Bill Dorenkott, coach of the women’s swimming team. “‘Better’ can be measured in a lot of ways, you know, points, times. Our goal is to be better at all the above.”

The Buckeyes have entered a taper phase, which is a time when athletes recover their muscles and restore their energy after long periods of high-volume training.

Practices become shorter during this time and as a result of the physical break, swimmers are able to move through the water faster and perform better.

“It’s the time of year that your body gets rest,” Dorenkott said. “Our goal is to peak for one performance, such as the Big Tens or NCAAs. All our focus, all our training goes into that.”

The women’s team will participate in the Shamrock Invitational this weekend in South Bend, Ind., while the men’s team hosts Penn State and Michigan at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion beginning at 6 p.m. Friday.

“We have the aerobic base built,” Sakaris said. “Now it’s time to get the details of our race plans worked out, whether it’s not breathing off your walls or tucking up on the turn, this is the time we can really focus on and get better at those small things.”

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