SWIM : Walker already preparing for postseason, counts on freshmen
It may be only the third week of the season, but Syracuse swimming head coach Lou Walker is already preparing his team for the Big East Championships.
While that meet is not until Feb. 14, Walker used the Marist Red Fox Invitational last weekend to prepare his swimmers for a championship meet. He learned that he can count on his freshman.
‘What you’re looking for is to put the kids in tough, competitive situations,’ Walker said. ‘Our goal, if you will, is to be at the best in the championship. For us, our initial is the Big East conference championship. That’s what you’re shooting for.’
The format of the two-day meet against Army and Marist resembled a conference championship meet. Although no team scores were kept, Walker feels that longer meets better prepare his swimmers for what they will compete in at the end of the year.
‘We were looking for a tough kind of environment simulating a multiple session situation,’ Walker said.
For the women, the weekend was highlighted by placing in the top three in both breastroke events. They complemented their breastroke domination with wins in two of the other three strokes. In diving, Alida DiPlacido won both events and tied her SU record of 301.71 during the one-meter preliminaries.
For the men, the longer meet could add helpful experience down the road for the team led by freshmen. Through two meets this season, freshmen have accounted for 11 of 13 individual wins. In the Red Fox Invitational, Luk Boral finished without a win in a regular season meet for the first time since January. In the end, freshmen picked up all six of the individual wins.
Arda Isiksalan won two of the events. Isiksalan moved to the United States from Hungary two months ago to swim for SU. After winning the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke last weekend, he is the only SU swimmer still undefeated in individual events. Through his transition, he said there is no pressure being an international student on a team led by freshmen.
‘It’s great to be here,’ Isiksalan said. ‘It’s my first year in a new place with a new culture.’
While the team prepares to open their Big East schedule this weekend at Pittsburgh, the inexperienced team does not concern Walker.
Said Walker: ‘I don’t think (men’s basketball head) coach (Jim) Boeheim was concerned that Carmelo was playing pretty well.’
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