Club swimming does laps around D-I competitors

The club swimming team traveled to the Dallas the first weekend of October to compete in the Big Tex Invitational.

Vice President of Club Swimming Curran Kelley said the team’s goal was to place higher than they did the previous year. The team swam against Division III host the University of Texas at Dallas, as well as Division I-ranked University of North Texas, Kansas and Texas State.

Last fall, the team placed fourth at the Big Tex Invitational. Although ranked in the same standing as last year, the team scored more points this year than they did at the same meet last year.

“We were a lot closer to getting third,” Kelley said.

According to Kelley, club swimming currently has about 30 active members on its roster and some promising freshmen.

The team also has a full-time coach now, which has lead to vast improvements.

“Having a coach showed in our results last weekend. We had a lot of people swimming really fast times,” Kelley said.

Head coach Kimberly Haslage has coached at all levels, from summer league to the Olympic level, Kelley said.

The team would love to host an on-campus meet, but faces challenges with the on-campus swimming pool.

“Because the facilities are not up to par, we can’t host meets yet,” Kelley said.

While Kelley does not believe that this is hurting the team, swimming leaders are working towards hosting meets.

“We definitely want to send a bigger team to nationals this year,” Kelley said when asked what his goals are for the team this year.

Last year, Kelley and his teammate, Kim Carrier, went to nationals in Atlanta and faced steep competition. Carrier ended up placing 16th in the 50 freestyle and 15th in the 100 backstroke.

Although it was a great experience, Carrier felt one thing was missing.

“I felt like the team should be there. It was overwhelming because there were big name colleges there like Virginia Tech,” Carrier said.

Only time will tell if the Toppers will be able to bring more teammates to nationals this year. Even if it does not happen, Kelley already thinks the team has proven itself.