It takes just one moment in time for an athlete to approach that edge, and in one immediate decision, decide to leap over that edge and push themselves harder than they ever have before. In Shenandoah, Texas, between March 20 and 23, seven Keene State College swimmers will be approaching that edge of the pool and will be making that split-second decision right before they dive in head first.
KSC is bringing a record seven Owl swimmers from the male team to the 2013 Men’s Swimming and Diving NCAA National Championships.
Head Coach Jack Fabian, who is leading the preparation process of the highest scaled event of the 2012-2013 season has the experience to know what it takes to lead the charge into such a prominent meet. Also assisting on the U.S. Open Water National Team, Fabian recently traveled to Brazil for a national meet.
“Right now we’re 21 days out of nationals so they’re going to start swimmer pre-taper phase starting tomorrow actually, which means we start getting actually a little bit more rest and a little bit more focus on just speed work and a lot of recovery swimming,” Fabian said. “The last 10 to 15 days have actually been pretty rigorous. They’ve been working really hard and have had a really complete schedule with really difficult lifting schedules and then we’re going to start transitioning them to more resting start at 20 days and out,” he stated.
The large in-flux of KSC talent at this year’s nationals is a well-deserved honor and explanation from Coach Fabian over the accomplishment.
“We had some really good relays at New England [Championships] and the relays are a really good way for us to get people into the meet,” Fabian continued, “Our 800 relay got an A-cut so those four guys automatically qualified for NCAA’s.”
The seven Owls competing in the competition at the end of March consist of a mixed bag of talent. Swimming in the 800-Relay after receiving an A-cut at LEC’s will be juniors Drew Ledwith and Jared Hyde along with freshmen Cole Hogg and Shahar Resman.
Competing in the 400 and 200 relays will be juniors James Black and Hyde, senior Austin Harris and freshman Greg Youngstrom. Resman, Ledwith, Hyde and Youngstrom have their own individual races that they will be racing in at Nationals as well.
First-year qualifiers Resman, Hogg and Youngstrom will be competing on the main stage that every swimmer works so hard for all year. Resman, who’s raced in the open water World Circuits and European Championships said he feels great and confident going head first into the pool once they get to Texas.
“I have experience in the World Cup and European Championships so I know what a big event is like, but I don’t know what a big event is like in the United States,” Resman said. “So I’m excited and it’s weird for me because Texas is in the same country and the flight takes about five hours so it’s really weird. I have the pressure on the relay so I have to swim really fast for me and for the guys. I feel good though but I don’t like to speak before the races about what I am going to do before the races and I prefer to save it to myself; let’s see after the race where we are.”
Resman holds the most important event to be the 800 relay because it also holds the most importance to his teammates, which means much more to him then just another individual race in which he’ll be competing in the mile, which he is ranked sixth in, and the 500-free relay.
“We really want to get two–hopefully three–relays in the top eight,” Coach Fabian said. “For us, for the men, that would be huge for the program. We’ve never actually had a men’s relay in the top eight in NCAAs. We’ve had honorable mention All-American, which is between nine and sixteenth but flat All-American for those guys would be a crowning achievement for them.”
Fabian showed a high esteem in not only his newcomers, but in his returnees as well.
“For the first-timers, I feel like their kind of set personalities are pretty well suited to a meet like this,” Fabian said. “They’re not really nervous type of people, they’re kind of real focused and they really like to compete so I feel like they’re going to do fine and will be in good place while they’re there.”
“When it comes to the returners, I feel like they know what the meets all about. They don’t really talk about it. They have they’re goals but they know it just kind of comes down to racing and don’t get obsessed with it. In the morning they’re going to have to race fast so we’re just trying to prepare for that.”
Ledwith will be competing in his own individual races and shows the most promise in bringing back a national title in the 400-meter individual medley.
After accomplishing an All-American last year, the Keene, N.H. native is looking to bring back an actual trophy he can put his hands on.
“It’s definitely a challenge because we know that the person that Ledwith races against is the National record holder so in order to be National Champion he’d probably have to break the D-III National record so that’s really fast but we think he’s been swimming really well,” Fabian said.
“Not to put any expectations on him like that, you know we just want to see how well he can do.”
As the KSC national qualifiering swimmers begin their rest period that consists of working on their speed and form, returnee Jared Hyde said much more of the training has been aerobic based after coming off taper and is now the beginning of the pre-taper workouts that will get them to go fast.
“We’ve just been preparing by swimming and getting into a mental head set,” Hyde said. “We’re all really excited to go to Texas it should be a lot of fun. We’re ready to race.”
Since the swimmers will be staying in Keene over the up-coming spring break, Coach Fabian said his biggest concern is just keeping the athletes from being too bored as they continue to rest but as Nationals approach boredom will cease to exist for the swimmers.
The imminent excitement that presents itself when approaching the edge of the pool before the race, will leave each swimmers minds scrambling in deciding of whether or not they’re going to want to push themselves over that edge, and bring home a national title.
Dalton Charest can be contacted at