Dixie State University women’s swim team proved to be a competitive first-year program at its meet over the weekend.
The Trailblazers came in sixth place out of eight teams at the three-day Colorado Mesa Winter Invitational. They finalized their point total at 354, and nearly every DSU swimmer finished their races with season-best times thus far.
Jamie Beckstrand, DSU assistant swim coach, said the team has been phenomenal as a first-year program.
“They are really rising to the level they need to be at,” Beckstrand said.
The Trailblazers stroked ahead of Division II competitors Colorado State University-Pueblo at 204 points and Adams State University at 81 points. The Trailblazers finished behind by about 100 points to Division I Brigham Young University at 466 points and University of Wyoming at 448 points.
Bejamin Rae, DSU head swim coach, said this meet gives him a good sign of where their training is and what adjustments to make as they swim on into the rest of their season.
“They are really starting to understand what the expectations are of our program and how to really compete to be successful,” Rae said.
Rae compared some of the stats from this invitational to other teams in the Pacific Collegiate Swimming and Diving Conference. He predicted DSU will sit in between the seventh and ninth spot out of the 13 teams, which is about where he wants this first-year team to finish.
Phebe James, a sophomore graphic design major from Heber City, said this meet has helped the team’s mindset shift from being nervous to having confidence.
“We have seen what we can do now, and we are just really pumped up and ready to kick some butt,” James said.
Beckstrand said Rae has been a fantastic coach, he knows these women, what they need, is a good communicator and approachable for them, and perhaps his greatest quality as a coach is his patience.
“[Rae] has trained teams that have gone to Olympics trials and so I think he has had to hold back a lot,” Beckstrand said. “He has been patient building from where [these women] are and not over doing [the training].”
As the season goes on for the new women’s swim team, they plan on continuing to increase their speed, improving their relays and 200-yards races, and their mental resistant by not shaving.
Gracie Kroll, a freshman early child education major from South Jordan, said the team stopped shaving Sept. 1 and won’t shave until the second week of February right before the final conference meet. It is just a strategy to make the team feeling mentally faster when they all shave before the conference meet, she said.
“It is really just a mental thing,” Kroll said. “It will only shave off a spilt-second in the races, but it will shave more time than that in your head.”
Kroll said she didn’t except the team to be this successful in its first year and is excited to move forward with the rest of the season.
The Trailblazers next meet will their only home meet against Colorado Mesa University Jan 7 at 3 p.m. at the Washington City Community Center.
“I’ve heard a lot of team say ‘I finally feel like a college swimmer now,’” Kroll said.