On Nov. 17 and 18, Olivet Nazarene University’s Men and Women swim and dive teams hosted the first Toby Tiger Invite, and both emerged from the meet victorious.
Both teams were dominant in their performances. The women’s team—ranked second in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) polls—won 15 of the 23 events during the meet, which gave them the edge over visiting opponents Indiana Wesleyan University and Lindenwood University – Belleville. The men’s team—ranked third in the NAIA polls—also won 15 of the 23 events, taking down No. 8 Lindenwood. In addition, of the ten relay races, the Tigers won nine.
“It was fun,” Head Coach Scott Teeters said. “And it’s just great to be home. Because we made a lot of cuts and swam fast, we did really well…A lot of (the swimmers) were right where they needed to be.”
It was the fifth meet of the season for both teams, however it was the first meet against NAIA schools as up to this point all of their previous meets have been against National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 Schools. They still have other NCAA opponents on their schedule, including schools like the University of Illinois. Their schedule offers the swimmers a unique opportunity as they face tougher competition than many of their NAIA opponents.
“(Coach) Teeters matches us up with these top NCAA teams to prepare us for the NAIA (teams),” senior Guilherme Magnoler said. “He does that on purpose. Sometimes, he matches up with teams that are a lot better than us to make us learn something from it. So we can perform that (lesson) against the NAIA schools… He’s trying to show us that we still have a lot to learn.”
The men’s team lost a lot of swimmers from the previous season when they were NAIA National Champions. Of the 20 underclassmen swimmers on the 2016-17 season’s roster, eight of them did not return to the team this season.
“The difference is these guys know they have work to do, and they just do it,” Teeters said. “I’m a lot happier coaching. … We got rid of a lot of distractions.”
The new, more focused attitude has not only helped the team but the coaching staff as well.
“We have a lot more people who are serious about swimming and the team in general,” grad assistant Christian Daniels said. “(Last year) selfishness was just off the charts. And they were talented, but (certain swimmers) didn’t care about the team. … I just think as coaches it’s a lot better. It makes our jobs easier and a lot more fun.”
The women’s team did not have the same roster issues as the men as they returned 15 of the 16 non-graduating swimmers from their National Championship team last year. In addition, they have built more team morale by competing in events out of the pool together. This past weekend several of the women participated in a local holiday 5k event.
The swim team have their final home meet of the season on December 9th. Be sure to show up and show them support.