This coming weekend, the swim team will compete in its most difficult meet to date against the University of Delaware.

In its first meet against American University, the team took first place.

In their most recent meet at Loyola University, Mason defeated Loyola 213-87 while falling United States Naval Academy 169-130 in a close race for the win.

Stand out swimmers included freshman Kyle Sockwell, who took first place in the 200 backstroke with senior Austin Witherow following close behind.

Sockwell and Caleb Williams have been excellent additions to an already first-rate team.

“This team is the best we have had in years and we have a great chance at winning the conference title,” Witherow said.

The team has been intensely preparing for the meet this coming weekend with practices twice a day, six times a week.

They alternate their workouts by doing lifting, running, and a variety of swimming sets.

The team also credits certain innovations within the athletic department, including longer swimming pools.

“During practice, we are able to swim a long course of 50 meters, rather than the usual 25. I feel this gives us an edge over the competition, as no one else is able to do this and it helps with our conditioning,” Witherow said.

With the meet approaching this weekend, the members are focusing hard on their workouts, but also focusing on the mental aspect of the sport, as it is just as important.

“Swimming is different because it is a mental sport,” Witherow said. “Going to practice and doing the sets can be pretty daunting; you have to do a lot of warm ups and stretching. It is similar to track in that way because you have to bring a lot together in order for it to go well.”

The team members are extremely close with their busy practice schedule, so they are easily able to form bonds.

They eat together for most meals and meet up on weekends to relax.

They even have a ritual of gathering as a team before a meet and having a quick goal meeting before watching movies together, especially inspirational ones.

This closeness is important in boosting morale and getting excited for the meet.

While each member of the team has to swim individually, each person’s scores count toward the team win.