Stepping it up
The Stingrays are coming off a successful swim meet last Saturday in Eufaula, where 45 finals times were recorded faster than that of the intrasquad meet, and 20 times were five seconds away from state qualifying times, Donaldson said.
“The team itself as a whole from top to bottom improved,” he said. “I was sitting there looking at the times, and I was just blown away at how they had beat their times from last Saturday.
“It was pretty phenomenal and it just goes to show how hard they worked last week,” he said.
Donaldson said that Troy has a well-seasoned team with some “outstanding swimmers.”
“(Troy swim coach) Shane (Tatum) is stronger in the 15-and-up males predominantly,” Donaldson said. “He’s also got some strong swimmers scattered throughout the 11-12s and 13-14s.”
Despite Troy having that advantage, Donaldson said he is confident that his team will do well Saturday.
“Shane has some well-tuned machines,” he said.
This week at practice, the Stingrays spent the better part of Monday and Tuesday working on some things that needed some fine tuning, namely breaststroke and butterfly turns. A turn is when a swimmer approaches the pool wall, and turns to swim the opposite direction.
“For years, this team has been able to compete to the wall,” Donaldson said. “It needs to be a natural reaction. When we get to the wall is where it kills us. They shouldn’t think about what they’re doing.
“They should do it automatically, and then turn,” he said. “They’re improving on it.”
In the other strokes, namely freestyle and backstroke, Donaldson said the team is in “good shape.”
As far as what the keys are leading into this week’s meet, Donaldson said they lie in the team’s “endurance.”
“I may not see 45 better times this week, but I should see a good number of times,” he said. “Then, as far as the other keys, if they’ll correct their problems in the breast and fly turns, then I should be able to see improvement in those events.”
Again in each week, Donaldson said he is in awe of what the team is doing in such a short amount of time.
“A lot of them have been with me for a while,” he said. “Every time I set a bar, they exceed that bar. It’s a good group of athletes that strive for excellence.”
Warm-ups will start at 10 a.m., and the meet will begin at 11 at the Troy Sportsplex of Highway 167 in Troy.