Swimmers trying to avoid rust by staying in the water

Matt Perkins

The Indianapolis Colts, who were at one point a perfect 13-0 and on the verge of the perfect season, lost their first playoff game to the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday 21-18.

Some would argue the loss had a lot to do with the fact that the Colts had a month off between their 13th win and their season-ending loss.

Minnesota’s women’s swimming and diving team hopes not to make the same mistake.

“We just need more opportunities to race,” co-coach Kelly Kremer said.

The Gophers’ meet against Ohio State on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the University Aquatic Center is simply another opportunity to race.

“It’s kind of like the (Indianapolis) Colts,” co-coach Terry Nieszner said. “They were too rested and weren’t ready for the playoffs.”

But if an NFL organization can’t properly prepare for the postseason with four weeks of rest, how can the Gophers?

Coming off their annual winter training trip to Hawaii, Kremer and Nieszner said they have the right formula.

Competition. Competition. Competition.

The Gophers ended their winter training session in Hawaii with a dual against University of California-Berkeley on Jan. 7. The meet allowed the team to gauge where it was in comparison to one of the best programs in the nation.

“It’s good to see what the best are doing,” Kremer said. “And it’s even better to see where you are at by competing against one of the best.”

Kremer and Nieszner said the meet showed the team is on the right track in the wake of the mental and physical demands they faced on their training trip.

“It’s hard to separate out the mental and physical fatigue,” Nieszner said. “They’re both there, we just need to get around it.”

To help the Gophers make the turn and fully prepare for the Big Ten Championships in late February, they begin to taper upon return from their winter training trip.

The Gophers also must work on their finishes and turns in the water.

“We need to work on finishing our races well,” Kremer said. “We have to have that little extra in the end, make better turns, and be all-around prepared by the time we get to the Big Ten Championships.”

But the tapering won’t prevent the Gophers from giving 110 percent against Ohio State, because they don’t want to over-rest and develop Colts disease.

“We are just now starting to see rest,” diving coach Jason Baumann said. “It’s going to give us a chance to fine-tune our timing and work on some of the smaller things. But we will stay on top of things.”