Cards find bonding time in Florida

Temperatures were in 40s, 50s during training days for BSU.

While most students were at home relaxing during the holidays, the Ball State women's swimming and diving team spent time in Fort Pierce, Fla., training and competing in a pentathlon at the Treasure Coast Invitational. The women's swim team left for Florida via bus on Dec. 28 and stayed one week, heading home Jan. 4.

Spending the week together and training in the Sunshine State brought up everyone's morale, according to women's head coach Laura Seibold-Caudill.

"We trained twice a day for a whole week," said Seibold-Caudill. "It was a really good experience for us because we were down there with the men's team. We had some really good bonding time because we were all staying together in condos on the beach."

The team competed Jan. 3 in a pentathlon at Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce. Indian River Community College women's team is the reigning junior college national champion, earning hosting honors for its invitational.

Chilly weather initially posed a problem for the Cardinals, as temperatures stayed in the 40s and 50s during their training days. According to many swimmers, just about everybody stayed in the pool as long as possible to try to adjust to the cold temperatures.

"It would have been warmer if we were swimming inside," said senior Dee Dee Wolverton. "I hadn't ached that bad in a long time, it was very tough work."

The Cards competed against the host team and the South Carolina Gamecocks in the pentathlon, which featured the 100-meter butterfly relay, 100-meter backstroke, 100-meter breastroke, the 50-meter freestyle relay, and the 200-meter freestyle. The meet was unscored, where only individual times were recorded.

Wolverton notched a season-best time of 1:58.98 in the 200 freestyle. Juniors Rachel Gingerich and Mandy Hammond also grabbed season-best times, with 25.92 seconds in the 50 freestyle and 1:07.87 in the 100 butterfly, respectively.

Freshman Karla Bailey had the only first place finish for Ball State, taking the 100 breastroke with a time of 1:08.66.

"Indian River was pretty good and South Carolina swam well, considering they did not bring all their swimmers," Bailey said.

Both swimming teams took advantage of their free-time by invading the beach. Seibold-Caudill and mane's coach Rob Thomas organized a New Year's Eve cookout as part of the trip's itinerary.

The swimmers also took a 11?2-mile dip in the Atlantic Ocean alongside the men's team.

"That was kind of tough because it was so chilly," said sophomore Jamie VanNess. "We were also kind of paranoid about sharks."

"We were all kind of scared, but it was fun because we don't usually get an opportunity to swim in the open water," Bailey added.


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