Following a second-place finish in 2019-2020, Rowan Men’s Swimming is preparing to head back to Massachusetts to compete in the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Gompei Invitational from Dec. 2 to 4.
The swimmers have not hit the pool for a competitive meet since Nov. 6, when they squared off against Montclair State University.
This is not your traditional weekend meet. The Gompei Invitational will span across three days, which is a challenge that the team has not gotten the opportunity to face all season.
Graduate student Kevin Gillooly spoke on the importance of preparation leading up to the extended weekend of swimming.
“It depends on a lot of factors,” Gillooly said. “Since it’s midseason, we’re just trying to train through it and not rest as much so that we have some really good training to rest off come February. So right now it’s business as usual. Even if your body breaks down, it will give guys a better understanding of how to train better to prepare for February. It will be a challenge but it’s what we need.”
Although this is the first time the team will face a long weekend of swimming, it will not be the last. Gillooly believes that this weekend will help prepare the team for the Metropolitan Championships at the end of the season.
“I would say the biggest key of a midseason meet is it being a test run. We’ll be swimming four individuals as opposed to three in the Metropolitan Championships, so a lot of guys can experiment in events that they normally wouldn’t get to swim and see where guys can make an impact where they might not have expected to,” Gillooly said. “That can definitely add a lot to our depth.”
Of course, in order for the team to excel in these big competitions, they must be in peak form. While Gillooly believes that the team has shown flashes of this, he is adamant that himself, as well as the rest of the swimmers, have room for improvement.
“We got our butts kicked in the beginning of the year by [Head Coach Brad Bowser],” Gillooly said. “So in terms of the mental side . . . a lot of us have done a really good job of sticking it out and grinding through tough practices to get to the more speed oriented part of the season. The mental toughness has absolutely been there. What we can do better is continue to support one another and stay on top of each other each and every day . . . The meet this weekend will teach a lot of people how to get into the pool with confidence because if you can convince yourself that you’re the best swimmer on the deck, it will come to fruition.”
Gillooly and company will certainly have their work cut out for them, but it’s safe to say that hard work is never lacking with this team. The WPI Gompei Invitational will begin on Thursday, Dec. 2, and conclude on Saturday, Dec. 4.
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