The University of Wyoming swimming & diving team opens its regular season Saturday. The Cowboys and Cowgirls compete at the DU Relays at 12 p.m. inside El Pomar Natatorium.
Aside from last season, this is an event that UW has competed in each of the last three years. It’s exclusively relays, which affords the team an opportunity to grow closer as a collective unit.
“It builds some team comradery and team culture,” head coach Dave Denniston said. “A lot of upperclassmen will guide the underclassmen about the process and being behind the blocks and some of those types of things.”
Wyoming will take 44 student-athletes to the competition – 29 women and 15 men. Those that go will participate in a meet comprised of numerous relays that vary in uncommon distances that are unique to the relay-meet format.
“Every swimmer specializes in something, to a degree, so there’s opportunities for them to show their specialty,” Denniston said. “But then there’s also opportunities for them to try something they haven’t done before. That’s a big part of the early season – getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things.”
Some of those not-so-run-of-the-mill distances include the 200-yard free and medley relays where each leg completes 25 yards. There’s also the crescendo relay (50, 100, 150 and 200-yard legs) and multiple relays that are composed of three swimmers instead of four.
This meet allows student-athletes to veer out of their comfort zone. It also allows Denniston to begin the process of identifying what swimmers can swim what events and where his teams’ strengths lie.
“We usually see some things that we haven’t seen in practice – or even in the Brown and Gold meet – from some people,” Denniston said. “That’s some of the things that I look for as a coach – third or fourth events that we can develop throughout the season.”
Following the DU Relays, Wyoming takes a couple weeks off from competition before retuning to the state of Colorado. UW participates in a quad meet at Air Force, featuring the Falcons, Denver and LSU.