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Swim teams ready for UW-Green Bay

first_imgThe University of Wisconsin men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams open their season at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon with a meet against the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay at the UW Natatorium. The Badgers will begin their quest to improve on last year’s impressive run, where the men finished 19th at the NCAA national meet and the women placed 11th. The road to improvement will be difficult, however, as both teams lost key members from a year ago, most notably Olympian Carly Piper.”We have a very young squad this year, especially on the men’s side. I’m looking forward to watching the younger kids especially to see how they handle certain situations,” said head coach Eric Hansen, who will take the first meet with a grain of salt, but believes his swimmers have the mindset that they will be in top form against Green Bay. “They are all business. I understand how long the learning process is going to take, but they will put a lot of pressure on themselves.”When the two teams met a year ago, Wisconsin’s men’s and women’s teams emerged from the pool victors, a feat Hansen is confident can be repeated Friday.”I like our chances. The women’s team is really impressive right now and the men’s team is just young,” Hansen said. “The thing we are really stressing is to be aggressive, but to implement the things we have taught here technically. The main purpose of this is to come together as a team, though.”Because the lineups and events that UW swimmers will race in are still very fluid, Badger swimmers will likely be subjected to a variety of races beyond their personal specialties.”Each kid will swim one primary event, but we are going to challenge some of them to swim events they don’t normally swim, early in the season, so it will be interesting to see,” Hansen said.The women’s team has high preseason expectations, with many of the swimmers able to swim competitively in many different events, epitomized by first-team all-Big Ten selection and Big Ten Freshman of the Year Susan Johnson, who will likely see work in the backstroke and butterfly, as well as the team medleys.”We have a lot of women with national and international experience and I don’t think anything is going to surprise them, and this is just the first step towards what we want to do for them, which is to climb into the Top Ten in the country,” Hansen said.The men only return two upperclassmen this season in senior Michael Hamm and junior Tom Molzahn, who also serve as team captains. Gaining experience will be priority one for the men’s team as they look to overcome their youth and surprise teams in the Big Ten and on the national scene.”The big theme of this year is going to be gaining experience, because we only have one junior and one senior,” Hansen said. “Our two upperclassmen are very much our leaders and other than that, our kids are very much in the learning phase right now. At the same time, I can’t remember ever having a more motivated group of people as a team. It’s very exciting.”last_img

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