The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Swim teams earn split on heels of Florida trip

Although the Gannon Swimming and Diving teams had no classes to wake up for, no homework to finish and no tests to study for, the end of semester break may have served as the busiest part of the season for the Knights.

( Sophomore Jackie Rzymek (above) swims in Saturday's meet against Division I opponent Canisius College. Rzymek broke her own pool record in the 100-yard butterfly as she was one of four Knights to break records.

The 6-2 Women’s team and 3-3 Men’s squad, which split a dual-meet Saturday against Division I Canisius, travelled to Florida for 10 days from Dec. 29 to Jan. 7 for their annual training trip.

Junior Greg Nelson, who is one of two Knights to hold the record for the 500-yard Freestyle, said that although the team stayed in Fort Lauderdale, the trip was by no means any vacation.

“It was definitely some of the most difficult training sessions we’ve done since I’ve been here,” Nelson said.

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The rigorous training was used to help the Knights, who have combined for four first-place finishes, strengthen their aerobic capacity for the upcoming Edinboro Quad-Meet Saturday.

“We swam in 50 meters for long period training,” Nelson said. “It really helps you aerobically and lets you last longer in your races. Compared to a 50 meter pool, our 25 yard pool seems so much shorter when you’re racing in it.”

Although coach Nathan Walters helped the Knights prepare both mentally and physically for the tail end of the schedule, he wasn’t the only one that Gannon received advice from while in Fort Lauderdale.

The Knights were given the opportunity to meet Olympic gold-medalist Dana Torres. Torres, 41 during the 2008 Bejiing Summer Olympics, obtained a spot in her fifth Olympic games and became the first woman in history to swim in the Olympics over the age of 40. 


“She told us how to prepare for big meets and to be mentally tough,” Nelson said. “She told us stories about swimmers at the Olympics and how they almost threw up or passed out. She was really cool and down-to-earth.”

Aside from the physical and mental benefits of training in Florida and meeting an Olympic medalist, according to Nelson, both teams were able to bond and become a close-knit group of swimmers.

“The trip brought us closer together since we were with each other for 24 hours a day for 10 days,” he said. “It was great to get through that training with everyone’s support.”

After the Edinboro Quad-Meet, the teams have only one more competition, the Indiana (Pa.) Invitational, before the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championship and the NCAA Division II Championship.

Nelson said he believes that after seeing how the team has raced since the Florida trip, they will be hard pressed not to improve on last year’s sixth-place finish in the PSAC Championships.

“We’ve been swimming really well,” he said. “This is one of the strongest teams we’ve had. We’re going to be tough. We’re going to do some major damage.”

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