After a strong showing at the GLIAC Tournament, Wayne State's men's and women's swim and dive teams will now shift their attention to the NCAA championships.
Head Coach Sean Peters said having four men’s swimmer who are eligible for the NCAA championships is significant for the program.
"That's quite an accomplishment because this was one of our smaller men's teams that we've had, and we [also] ran into some bad luck with some key injuries," said Peters.
Sophomore Joao Ribeiro said team unity was one of the key things that the men's side needed to have for the GLIAC Tournament.
"Being there for each other through the whole season is really important," said Ribeiro. "Through all of the practices and hard stuff, it's really important that you have your teammates [supporting] you and cheering you on every single day."
On the women’s side, Peters said the leadership of the team captains following a loss to Findlay on Jan. 19 has helped get the team back on track.
"I think after that particular meet, the leadership took a good, hard look at itself, and realized that we are a good team, we just need to have everybody on this team do a little bit more," Peters said.
Peters said the send off that the swim and dive teams received from the athletic department was "a beautiful experience."
"I know that meant a lot to them to see so much support, and it certainly meant a lot to me to tell [everyone at] Wayne State Athletics that we are proud to represent you," he added.
Once WSU arrived at the GLIAC Tournament, Peters said that both teams looked ready to perform to their ability.
"I think that was clearly evident in the way that we swam every session," Peters said. "We were prepared, we were determined and there was definitely an atmosphere on the women's side of the meet and the men's side that I didn't have to force."
Recalling the 200- fly race where he missed an NCAA qualifying B-cut by 13 tenths of a second, Ribiero said, after a few days of competing in multiple events, he began to feel fatigued.
"You have to [swim] both sessions for four straight days and sometimes your body just doesn't perform like you practice for," added Ribeiro. "It's just something that can happen, but you have to get your head straight and come back for another day."
Sophomore Jia Yi Koh said having a short memory was crucial to having day-to-day success at the tournament.
"Sometimes you have a bad race, a bad day or even a bad [finish]," Koh said. "[But] you just have to get over it and focus on the next race."
Peters said that after the team came up short last year, it was rewarding to see the women's team pull through this year.
"To see the glow on their faces and to say [to them] we did it, those are moments that you really have to enjoy," Peters said.
After the tournament ended, WSU received more hardware as Ribeiro was named GLIAC Swimmer of the Year and Koh received GLIAC Freshman of the Year. Koh said she was caught off-guard when she heard her name announced.
"I didn't know there was a Freshman of the Year Award, so I was really surprised when they called my name," Koh said.
The women's Coach of the Year award given to Peters this year, making it 16 times out of 17 that Peters has won at least one of the Coach of the Year awards.
"Without the team, I can't accomplish what my goals are," Peters said. "My goal is to win and I want to see these girls win."
"When I won, I thanked everybody -- my coaches and the swimmers because an award like that is more a representation of the team and not necessarily the person running the team," said Peters.
On what the team hopes to accomplish at the NCAA Championship Peters said, "Our goal is to try to have the biggest team possible at nationals, and after that, take whoever we have and try to get both teams in that top ten."
Both swim and dive teams return to action at the NCAA Championships March 14-17 in Greensboro, NC.