Four weeks into the season, the women's swimming and diving team is already looking forward to the end of the season.
A pair of divers qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Meet at Purdue University in March this weekend at the Doug Coers Invitational at Lewellen Pool, which Ball State University won by 185 points.
"I think we did exceptionally well; I am very pleased," coach Laura Seibold-Caudill said. "We've had meets every Friday and Saturday for the past four weeks, so they are exhausted. It's certainly a test of their ability to be able to handle the stress level and fatigue, and it has forced some people to step up in spite of that."
Despite the fatigue that has set in with the Cardinals, senior Lisa Maertin and sophomore Christina Riordan finished 1-2 in both the 1- and 3-meter diving events. Their scores were high enough to qualify both for the NCAA Zone Diving Regionals.
"This is Lisa's third time to qualify for the Zones and Christina's first," Seibold-Caudill said. "I expected Christina to last year, but she had a setback in the middle of the season. She is doing really well this year."
For the swimmers, Seibold-Caudill said she was surprised that some new people stepped up and took charge of the meet.
Sophomore Elizabeth Spilman was one swimmer who stepped up to the challenge. The first night of the invitational, Spilman swam a lifetime best in the 500-yard freestyle to win the event, her first collegiate individual win. Spilman's coming out party continued Saturday as she won the 200-yard freestyle and two hours later finished second in the 1,650-yard freestyle.
"Spilman has gotten significantly faster this year," Seibold-Caudill said. "She has really come along and is turning into a major contributor and someone we really depend on."
Spilman said it was a combination of things that led to her doing well this weekend.
"I have been training really well this season and matured in learning how to race each event. Along with that, I felt relaxed and strong in the pool, which effected my confidence level," Spilman said.
Spilman was not the only two-event winner for the Cardinals on the weekend.
Senior Emily Karwoski won the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke and placed second in the 200-yard breaststroke.
"I think this is another step in the right direction for a great year this year," Seibold-Caudill said. "I am really proud of the team. I think they really came through. They were serious and focused and still came through in the end. "
Assistant coach Mike Kerr said he is exceptionally pleased with the team's results because this year, unlike in years past, the team is not training for each weekend's meets.
"I keep telling the girls that we're not training for the weekend, but that we're training for the MAC," Kerr said. "We're training for the accomplishments at the end of the season."
Along with training through weekend meets, the team is also not going to cut back on workouts — or taper as it's called in swimming — for a week or two, like many teams do during the middle of the season.
"I've never coached or been a part of a team that didn't taper during the middle of the season, but I see why Laura is wanting to do it," Kerr said. "After people taper, they'll have to build back up to where they were and we won't have to do that."
The Cardinals will have the week off for Thanksgiving but will be back in the pool Dec. 4 against Eastern Illinois University at Lewellen Pool.