In the midst of bitter cold winter weather, three Spartan swimmers managed to come away from the 2014 AT&T Winter Nationals with strong swims.
Senior Shelby Lacy, freshman Alex Trompke and senior Hannah Pugh represented the Spartans in Greensboro, North Carolina, for the three day meet this weekend.
Busting the previous school record, Lacy swam the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.07 seconds. This happened just a couple weekends after she broke the record for the 100 breast at the TYR Invitational at Northwestern.
“I touched the wall and heard the announcer say that I had won my heat,” Lacy said. “I looked up at the scoreboard and really just couldn’t believe it.
It was the first time each of these swimmers competed at the AT&T Winter Nationals, so the excitement transferred into the pool for some fast swims.
Pugh posted a 2:01.58 time in the 200-yard butterfly and a 4:22.31 in the 400-yard individual medley. Pugh’s swims were her personal best for the middle of the season, and close to what she went at prelims last year at Big Tens.
Trompke, the only non-senior Spartan at the meet, held his own in the 100 backstroke, going a personal record time of 49.38 seconds. He then went on to swim a 49.14 in the 100 butterfly.
Besides his fast swims, Trompke said the experience of swimming at such an elite meet was the best part of his weekend.
“It’s very humbling and a great opportunity to go against some of the best in the sport and see where you stand,” Trompke said.
In the middle of the season when the cold weather and often sickness plagues swimmers, the Spartans are keeping their eyes on the second half of the season. Lacy said her number one goal is to finish her career at MSU with all best times at the Big Ten meet in February, which would include breaking the 1:02 barrier in the 100 breast.
Pugh is working towards breaking the school record for the 200 butterfly and for the 400 IM, which she currently holds.
“I think I really put myself in the good position to go best times at the Big Ten meet,” Pugh said.
For three of the Spartan swimmers, the 2014 AT&T Winter Nationals was a springboard into the second half of the season. As a team, Lacy said she’d like to place ahead of at least two teams at Big Tens in February.
“Illinois is our biggest competitor and I know we are capable of beating them, but putting others like Northwestern and Rutgers behind us is what we are really aiming for,” Lacy said.
Next month the MSU swim and dive team will head to West Lafayette, Indiana, to compete against Purdue.
Julie Angell is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports
Photo: Impact Sports