The Cougars swimmers found some individual success against Utah but ultimately fell short.
The WSU swim team faced Utah on Friday and lost 156-99. The team finished the season 0-5 in Pac-12 doubles.
Despite the loss, WSU head coach Matt Leach said that despite the unfortunate record, the team always looks forward to the next event and hopes to peak at the end of the season and in postseason competition.
“Obviously we want to win every doubles meet, that’s why we have doubles,” Leach said. “But when we’re doing things right and when it comes down to it, swimming best at Pac-12s and NCAAs, I think we’re doing things right regardless of what the doubles meeting says.”
Finding student athletes who think the same way is important because it’s difficult, but the team has preached from day one that the next meeting matters most, Leach said.
One downside that the WSU swim team has had all season is that it doesn’t have a dive team when its opponents often do. Despite the downside, Leach’s message is simple.
“I say, look, let’s focus on ourselves, let’s focus on what we can control and you know, try to get up and race and in the pool, in the swim section, do our best,” he said Leach. “We can’t control what anyone is doing on the dive site.”
Before the Utah meeting, Leach said he wanted to see more performance and more energy from his team. The effort was a lot better against Utah, but there’s still work to be done before the postseason, but overall they’ve done a better job there, Leach said.
Leach credited Noelle Harvey’s great performances as a spark for the team’s overall energy. Harvey took first place in the 1000m freestyle in 10:25.95 after a great comeback over the 750m, 800m and 900m marks. She also placed first in the 500-meter freestyle with a time of 5:03.96, which was her fastest time as a Coug.
Leach said before the meeting that he thought they would be a good match against Utah. Utah posted some of the best times of the season and life against the Cougs that weren’t predictable, but the team didn’t let that get in the way, Leach said.
“Where I thought we were a good match, they would have these best times of their lives, which is fine, which is great for them,” Leach said. “For me it goes back to what we do and what we weren’t, we weren’t far off, we were pretty much the same or a little bit faster.”
Utah might have had a great day in the pool, but the Cougs put up some really good performances of their own, with freshman Dori Hathazi claiming first place in the 200-meter butterfly stroke and second in the 100-meter butterfly stroke with a 2:02.94 56.82 occupied . Classmate Emily Lundgren was second in the 100m breaststroke in 1:04.40 and Hailey Grotte was third in the 200m freestyle in 1:53.70.
The team has been trying to transition into a different training cycle that will hopefully emerge in the future, but the team as a whole still has work to do, Leach said.
“We tried to give them more speed from the start. So we’re still working on that, especially on our 100 and 50 swimmers,” Leach said. “But I think, you know, based on the performances in Utah, we tried to be a little bit more consistent and, you know, I think our middle and long-distance group did a really good job there. ”
From here, the Cougs have a week off from doubles meetings before taking on the Idaho Vandals on February 3rd here in Gibb Pool in their last dueling meeting of the year before the postseason.