The Collegian
Saturday, February 24, 2024

Swimming and diving focuses on "the process"

The University of Richmond's swimming and diving team members focus on "The Process," which enables success on the daily level.

"The Process" is a phrase that head swimming coach Matt Barany uses with his team that the focus and energy of the swimmers to each day, instead of strictly focusing on the end of the season, Barany said.

"In college athletics, people are obsessed with the end result, and a lot of teams don't do a good job in the middle," Barany said. "Though the finish is our destination, it's all of the work that we put in during the season that is important. If we don't put in all the work now, then there is no championship."

Richmond's swimming and diving program has won 10 out of the past 11 Atlantic 10 Championships.

Rather than simply focusing on the A-10 championship meet held at the end of February, Barany and the team continue to focus on what they can control and learn from with each training day, he said.

"If we spend all our time obsessing over that one meet, then we sacrifice what we are doing right now," Barany said. "This group of swimmers will only be together until February 26. After that day, this group we have will never be together again.

"It is for that very reason that we can't obsess over that championship meet. We must obsess over the relationships we have during 'The Process.'"

The little things within "The Process" continue to keep the team motivated, said Lauren Hines, a senior captain on the team. When the focus is directed on each practice, each stroke and each flip turn, then the bigger picture of success at the end of the season will be achieved, she said.

The focus on each practice continues to be essential for the team. It's important to stay fully motivated and to perform during the nine practices and three lifts that the team has each week, Hines said.

Though Richmond's team has been predicted to win the A-10 swimming and diving championships, the team is still focused on the same standards, Barany said.

"We never want to feel as if anything has been given to us at the end of year," said Mina Vucic, another senior captain on the team. "Every year is different because every year new freshmen come into the program so we feel as if we need to work for the end of the season."

In a sport where everything is measured by time, it becomes the entire team's responsibility to put in the collective effort needed to be successful, Barany said.

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"No matter how individual the sport of swimming is, one person can't win a championship by him or herself," Vucic said. "For us, it is not only how fast you can push yourself to go, but also how much you can motivate everyone else on the team to work toward one common goal."

The two divers on the team also embrace this mentality.

"[Our team] invests in each other by being givers and by not focusing purely on how we are doing ourselves," said Katherine Cook, a sophomore diver. "By supporting our teammates, we are allowing them the most success they are capable of."

The coming invitational meet at George Mason University from Nov. 14 to Nov. 17 will help to gauge the mental and physical preparedness of the team, Barany said.

Upon returning from the invitational meet, the whole team will meet to define and discuss what it's core values and goals are for the remainder of the season, Barany said.

"Everyone wants to get better, which takes a very supportive and engaged teammates and coaches," Barany said. "If everyone is constantly accepting the challenges to get better, then as a team, we will be better together at the end of the season."

The team's only home meet for the season will be held at 5 p.m. on February 1 and it will be their senior meet.

Contact reporter Ryann Dannelly at ryan.dannelly@richmond.edu

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