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On Saturday, Oct. 30, Valparaiso University swimming competed against Green Bay and Youngstown at home. Despite a loss, strong events present hope for future success at next week’s Southern Illinois University (SIU) Invitational on Nov. 11-13. 

Senior Dominic May led the team, finishing with Valpo’s top scoring individual races with second place in both the 50 and 100 free.

“Last week went really well. I swam the 50 and 100 freestyle, earning my personal best for the season,” said May.

Head Coach Maggie Kroemer was also satisfied with the team’s performance, specifically May’s times of 21.44 seconds and 46.96 seconds in the 50 free and 100 free, respectively. 

Her current focus is on the individual swimmer’s times rather than their placements.

“I’m more concerned about what times are going right now. They’re not tapered or anything so I’m really more concerned about how fast they’re swimming and how that compares to their lifetime bests and their details in their races like their technique and strategy,” said Kroemer. 

Compared to last year, things have taken a strong turn towards the positive for the team.

“This season is a lot better than last year with the pandemic. Last year we didn’t have any meets first semester besides in our squad and there were a lot more COVID restrictions, a lot more COVID testing. This year, everyone’s vaccinated so you don’t have to deal with that as much, don’t have to deal with quarantine,” Kroemer said. 

May contributed the successes to both the meet taking place at home and the upcoming anticipation for the SIU Invitational.

“I think we were just riding on the energy of coming into next week, our midseason meet. We’re all just really excited, preparing ourselves and our bodies for that meet. I think when we have home meets it’s a lot easier. We don’t have to travel, and things are better set up for performing better. So I think that really helps, being at home,” May said. 

The addition of fans this semester after the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions has also had a positive boost on morale.

“Last year we weren’t allowed to have spectators for meets. Now that we have spectators allowed, we’re getting pretty large crowds. Most of our home meets that we’ve had so far we’ve had large crowds, and a lot of our away meets [have] the same thing,” Kroemer said.

In addition to his strengths at the 50 and 100, it’s possible that May will compete in the 200 freestyle at SIU as well.

“In college I just started swimming that [200 free] and I’ve been doing really well in it. I got the school record for it and I won conference in that event,” May said.

However, the addition of the 200 free to his roster presents some drawbacks.

“I actually don’t really like swimming that event. It’s one of the hardest events I think. It’s my longer event and it’s a lot of endurance. It messes up the rest of my meet, I feel like I can’t perform as well in my other events,” May said.

To prepare for the midseason SIU Invitational, Coach Kroemer will be implementing some changes for the team. 

“We’re going to rest a little bit for that meet,” Kroemer said. “They’re going to wear their tech suits and shave so I’m looking forward to seeing some strong performances next weekend.”

May contributes his rising successes to a new mindset he’s adapted throughout his senior year. 

“Being a senior definitely has affected my performance. I have a lot more motivation to work harder. Being able to see a different perspective on the team and what it’s all about, I was always super not motivated and I didn't really feel like I had a place freshman year, but seeing the team grow over the years, I really love the team,” May said.

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