UNC swimming prepares for season opener with intra-squad scrimmage

Saturday’s intrasquad Blue vs. White meet in Koury Natatorium was the North Carolina swimming and diving teams’ first of the season, but nerves were not a factor.

“There was no doubt we would have a victory today,” coach Rich DeSelm said with a smile.

Though little was on the line, the meet was the first competition of a six-month long season.

The event provided the team’s 24 freshmen, nearly half of the roster, with an opportunity to race before the official season begins Oct. 13.

The competition was less formal than a regular season meet, but DeSelm said he views the meet as an opportunity for the freshmen to adjust and for their older teammates to exemplify their leadership.

“We have to do it to get the team dynamic and the competition aspect in their heads, and they did a great job today,” DeSelm said. “The upperclassmen did a great job of teaching the freshmen.”

Junior co-captain Alex Gianino said the large freshmen class is already blending in with the rest of the team.

Although the main prize was bragging rights, the teams still raced competitively. Three meet records were set, including one by freshman Emma Nunn. Though she was enthusiastic, she said she understands there are many things the team needs to accomplish before the season begins in earnest.

“A lot of people are sick and injured so we really need to focus on getting healthy first,” Nunn said.

Senior co-captain Brett Nagle said he views meets like these as a critical part of the team’s progression.

“We like to focus on the things that we can control,” he said. “As a team, we just want to improve every meet and hit our best swimming at the end of the season.”

Their first opportunity to compete is approaching rapidly — the teams have two weeks to prepare for their meet against South Carolina and Texas A&M, which will provide some testing competition.

The Texas A&M women’s team finished sixth in last season’s NCAA Championship, while the Tar Heel’s finished 19th.

The Aggies’ men’s team finished 13th, one place ahead of the North Carolina’s men’s team, which finished 14th.

UNC’s teams hope to again compete well on a national scale this year.

Although the first meet is looming, DeSelm is looking only for very general signs of improvement at this early stage.

“The main goal for the season in general is for everyone to go their best times in every event. If we can do that, and work toward that every day, then we’re going to be a good team.”

Contact the desk editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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