A young Vandal swimming and diving team showed its youth Saturday in a 217.5-82.5 loss at Boise State. It was the first taste of Division I competition for 14 freshmen on the 2013-14 Vandal squad — the largest freshmen class the Vandals have had in the last four years.
The loss marks the sixth consecutive loss to Boise State.
“These girls have done a ton of racing, but there’s a difference between what they’ve done at the club level and the high school level and racing in a collegiate dual meet,” Idaho coach Mark Sowa said of the freshmen. “There’s a heck of a lot of emotion. It’s about trying to beat the person next to you, not about what the clock says. I think they will figure that out. The more experience we get the better we will be.”
One bright spot for the Vandals was junior Rachel Millet. She dominated in the 200-yard backstroke, a new event, in 2 minutes, 1.36 seconds. Millet’s time set a new pool record beating the time held by former U.S. National Team member Jamie Reid.
“It’s fun to continue to throw new challenges at Rachel,” Sowa said. “She did a very good job … anytime you can take someone like that off the record books is a
Millet also won the 200-yard individual medley for the Vandals in 2:04.78. Her two individual victories were the only two for the Vandals on the day.
Sowa was also impressed with freshman standout Laura Rosen who finished second in the 200-yard butterfly and third in the 500-yard freestyle.
“I think freshman Laura Rosen showed moments where we figured out that she could be pretty good,” Sowa said.
Idaho’s diving group struggled at the meet, but Sowa said he has confidence in the group and new diving coach Kelly Gufford.
“I think our divers are challenging themselves,” Sowa said. “We have a new diving coach and they’re really challenging themselves with trying to execute some pretty high degree of difficulty on their dives right now. Once they are able to finish those off, I think that’s going to continue to improve as well.”
The Vandals have a week off from competition before facing Northern Colorado and Washington State at the UI Swim Center on Oct. 18 and Oct. 19 respectively. Those meets are the only two home meets for the Vandals until Senior Day against Oregon State on Jan. 25.
“We hate losing. It’s not as fun, but on further reflection … we were a lot better than the results appear,” Sowa said. “The freshmen performed really well in spots, our returners were better than they were a year ago. For us to beat a very good team, we have to be great … we didn’t do that.”
Stephan Wiebe can be reached at email@example.com