COLUMBUS, Ohio –How did the 15 swimmers on the Ohio State team take to hearing the news Wednesday from coach Bill Wadley that the start of the meet was delayed 24 hours? They got even more pumped to compete in the NCAA championships that will now be held Friday through Sunday at the McCorkle Aquatic Center on the Ohio State campus.
“You could just feel that everyone’s energy level shot straight up,” sophomore Stephen Sakaris, from Potomac, Md., said. “We were all really excited this week anyway, and you could just see in our practice swims how fast everyone was going. Everyone on the team knew that one more day of rest was going to be beneficial and the extra day was not going to hurt us.”
Ready to Go Fast Before & After
Wadley, the 2010 Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year, agreed that adding a day to his team’s routine was not going to bother his Big Ten champions.
“We prepare for a seven-day championship,” Wadley said. “The Olympic Games’ swimming competition is over seven days. The World Championships are competed over seven days.
“We prepare our team to be able to go fast a couple of days before the meet starts and still go fast a couple of days after it ends.”
Not Out of My League
Junior butterfly swimmer Quincy Lee, who has knocked 3.5 seconds off his 100 fly time and seven seconds off his 200 fly time since coming to Ohio State from Portland, Ore., said the NCAA experience so far has been like his first sectional meet as a youth swimmer.
“It’s intimidating at first,” Lee said. “You see the other swimmer’s times and then you see them in the water and you begin to know that you belong here…that you are comparable with these guys. There was even a moment of epiphany when you realize that you are really a high caliber athlete.”
Lee’s intuitive grasp of his own athletic prowess is something that will help him this week and in the future.
“It’s important to for your confidence to think of yourself in that way,” Lee, an engineering major, said. “Any less and you’ll never beat them.”
“She’s Out of My League”
All 15 swimmers, the coaches and the team’s massage therapist spent Thursday at the movies in between two visits to McCorkle for swims. Their choice: “She’s Out of Their League.”
“Silly funny,” was how Wadley described it, and “silly goofy,” too.
Senior Stefan Sigrist, the Big Ten champion in the 1650 freestyle, said the whole team going to a movie was “a nice way to not think about the meet for a couple of hours.”
Last Chance at Crazy
Senior Sam Pelkey has a rather interesting haircut, one that only someone without hair would be envious of and jealous of… in a good way, of course. Best way to describe it is rows of hair and rows of shaved head. The look extends to his facial hair, too.
“It’s my last chance at being crazy without being crazy,” Pelkey, a three-time OSU Scholar-Athlete who will be attending Dental School at the University of Louisville in the fall, said.
Pelkey doesn’t race until Saturday, so he’ll keep it another day.
It’s Called “The Sanshake”
One of the team coaches greeted some folks on pool deck by giving them a hearty, two-handed handshake…with hand sanitizer in both of his palms. The shock of his friends drew a hearty laugh from all and everyone appreciated the thought.”
Team MVP: The McCorkle Staff
The entire staff of the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion continues to work diligently and efficiently at keeping the facility disinfected in light of the gastrointestinal bug that hit several teams this week. It should be noted that McCorkle administrators have always taken an aggressive, preventative approach to cleaning and this week they have surpassed those lofty standards in a major way. And one can tell by the comments from outsiders and the amazement of photographers who are shooting photos of things like three students wiping down a bleacher, their work is appreciated.