The Tennessee swim and dive team will compete in their first championship style meet this weekend, a format nearly identical to what they’ll see at the SEC Championship and NCAA Championship.
Every meet this fall has been a dual meet or a double dual meet, meaning the team has not competed in a multi-day competition since the NCAA Championship meet last spring.
“This meet is the same basic format as NCAA Championships and SEC Championships and those are the two main meets in our season,” head coach Matt Kredich said. “We can go through the dual meet season without a win and still be SEC Champions or national champions so the ones that count the most are the championship style meets.”
This week, the Tennessee Invitational will span over three days, Thursday through Saturday, with the swim team having preliminary races in the morning, joining the diving team for finals in the evening.
Although the order of events is spread out over three days, the higher quantity of individual competitions brings a new level of endurance for any team.
“So this is really good preparation for those championship meets, particularly for the divers that dive all three events, which is many divers, but for those who are making the finals in all three events it’s a really grueling format,” diving coach Dave Parrington said.
Experienced divers like Colin Zeng have competed in a championship style meet many times, and will set the expectation for how his teammates should pace themselves in a longer meet with more teams than they’ve seen before.
Duke University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Denver will all bring swimmers and divers, while Carson-Newman will only bring a swim team.
“…We like the competition of this meet because it’s teams that we don’t usually see,” Kredich said about the teams the Vols will face.
For the swim team, this meet will provide many younger swimmers the opportunity to compete in events they have not yet had the chance to swim, as the Tennessee Invitational allows unlimited entries.
This new style will be an opportunity and a test for a team that will be experiencing something new.
“Because it’s a trials and finals format, we can take some chances and get more practice per event than we otherwise can in a dual meet,” Kredich said. “In a dual meet you swim an event once and that’s it, but in this championship meet format we get multiple chances. Hopefully, too, for some fast enough to swim each event.”
Kredich also looks forward to seeing freshmen not only competing in more varied events, but also getting to swim them multiple times in one meet.
The Tennessee Invitational will serve as the team’s concluding meet of the fall season before the diving team will pick up the spring season in Athens, Georgia at the Bulldog Diving Invitational on Jan. 4, 2019.