READING: Bits and pieces that I could cart about with me to Iowa, from my stack of things I set aside for just such occasions.
SWIMMING NEWS: The Indiana University Women's Swimming and Diving Team won second place in the Big Ten Championships in Iowa City week before last, scoring 651 points, second only to Minnesota, scoring 680 points. Great show by the girls' team, although they were a bit disappointed as they were hoping to recapture their 2011 Conference title...next year, girls...next year! Here's a recap of the swims and stats, and as Coach says, "...on with the training for NCAAs coming up...."
Photo: Guys waiting patiently on the sidelines for their swims. Front Row: Daniel, Ian, Cody, and John; Back Row: Tony, Steve, Matt, Mike, Patrick (standing), and Ryan.
The Indiana University Men's Swimming and Diving Team won third place in the Big Ten Championships in Iowa City this past week, finishing only 3.5 points behind Ohio State, who finished second, the University of Michigan finished first. Had it not been for a few mishaps during the meet, that second place crown would have been sitting securely and then some on the IU team. Ah, well, next year...oh, yeah, next year they are going for the Big Crown...and it will be definitely feasible. Go Hoosier men! Our divers are terrific, and while the swimming and diving teams practice separately, they come together at meets for a combined effort. Very few times have I seen the swimmers line up and watch their divers at a meet...except for IU...Coach RL has all the swimmers line up and watch and cheer for our divers, beginning to end...a very classy thing to do in my opinion.
Matt had a wonderful meet, he took of big chunks of time on all three of his swims, so he was feeling pretty good about all that all four days.
Photo: Doesn't hurt to have a little extra help as you step to the block for the race...Matt always makes the Sign of the Cross before mounting the block...at one meet a swimmer we have known through the years from another team came up to me and asked me why Matt always did that little "voodoo good luck thing." I explained that Matt was Catholic and he was making the Sign of the Cross and saying a short prayer for a good swim. The swimmer turned to me and said, "I'm gonna try that as Matt has beaten me every swim I have ever swam with him, it must be good luck and it must work!"
Photo: Stepping up to the block in all seriousness before the 200 Freestyle...result: he took off 3.5 seconds, got a new best time, and a B cut for NCAAs.
Here are results and various links to other bits of press coverage, here, and here, and here and here, and here and here and here. You can click on the little "Results" tab on each day's recap to see the heat sheets and results for all the swims. All in all, a really good freshman year for Matt. What's next...training begins immediately for Olympic Trials in June. There's always something!
COOKING BYTES: I have cooked/baked almost nothing in almost two weeks...between being ill and being gone...nada on the baking/cooking. Very unusual. Hope to change that this week...I am certain Mark is hoping that as well.
FAV NEW FIND: One of the reasons Matt chose to go to IU to swim for college was that he loved the feel of the IU Men's Swimming and Diving Team. They were welcoming, fun to be around, encouraging, and made no secret of wanting Matt to join the team. Recruiting is one thing...anyone can say anything to get someone to want to be in their program. This year Matt learned first-hand that IU was true to every single thing they represented on recruiting trips. He had the opportunities to swim, improve, compete, and challenge himself that he wanted. He had a respected place on the team. He had a good relationship with each and every coach, respecting them and they in turn respecting him as well. He had teammates who were good and honest and kind and encouraging. He had upperclassmen teammates who gave generously since the first week...generously with their time and commitment to helping the freshmen succeed as fast as possible. The coaches and upperclassmen have included the freshmen swimmers every step of the way. The upperclassmen took the newbies under their wings and carted them around (they don't have cars their freshman year on campus), they invited them to their places for video games and ball game watching and meals and pretty much just any time the guys wanted to get away from the dorms and just hang out. When the college buildings were closed for breaks, the upperclassmen let the freshman dorm guys bunk at their places so their parents wouldn't have to pay huge hotel bills for them. They have been most generous with their friendship and guiding the new guys through the rigors of the swim program as well as the academic programs. What a deal for them and what a deal for us as parents who have been able to say, "Child okay at school socially, academically, and swimming-wise: CHECK." Indeed, a favorite find.
Photo: Coach RL is one very wonderful coach, no one disputes that at all. He is also one very wonderful person. Each time his swimmer finishes a swim, he walks over to the lane they swam in, shakes the swimmer's hand, gives him a cup of Gatorade, and walks him back to the bench chatting about the swim. This seemingly little gesture, means a lot to the guys...a sign of respect and honor to have your coach treat you so well in front of thousands of people and swimmers. Very nice.
FAV THIS PAST WEEK: Going to Iowa for the Big Ten Championships for Men's Swimming and Diving. I had hoped to go early, but was still ill and ended up heading out of town on Wednesday, the day the meet started, so basically it was mostly a "working" trip as with two long sessions of swimming each day, there wasn't a whole lot of time for extra curricular activities. It was fun just being back in Iowa City and running around on all the favorite streets...so much has changed, and so much has stayed the same. We had a wonderful time. One of our favorite things was getting to spend some time catching up with this guy!
Photo: Mike and Matt...old teammates and friends at CHS...with their new college teams at Big Tens. Sorry for the poor quality of the photo...it was a dimly lit restaurant and my phone camera is dying a slow and painful death.
Mike goes to U of Iowa and swims for the Hawks, so it was fun to see him on his new "home turf" and just really nice to sit down to dinner with him and hear about his life at Iowa now.
WEEK IN REVIEW: Trip to Iowa was great...45 degrees on one day, in the 30s the other days, one day a skiff of snow...this is not the Iowa I remember from my youth, but there were no complaints. I'd like to say how well-rounded my week was, but frankly, almost all of my time was spent watching the Big Ten Championship swim meet. And, yes, that was a lot of fun for us...many swimmers on the other teams are kids we have known throughout the years through swimming.
Photo: Swimmers would line up by their bench and start a cheer for the parents to echo back, or we would start one for the swimmers to echo back...we had a great time cheering for the guys and they loved every cheer, crazy or not, that the parents put out there for them. So proud of all of them...a great group of guys. Left to right: Steve, James, Daniel, Matt, Patrick, Mike, and Ian.
LOOKING FORWARD TO: Heartland Art - Selections from Your Indiana Collection opened at the Indiana State Museum in October, here's a little preview to entice you. It features 140 years of Indiana art created by Indiana natives. This is what's happening at the ISO this coming week: Copland's Appalachian Spring concert, click here.