In the Tigers' first meet of the season, they lost to Wittenberg University by six points. They lost by six points again in the following meet.
After two close meets against two tough opponents in Wittenberg and Washington University in St. Louis, the Tigers beat Wheaton College and took first place out of seven at the Woehnker Invitational before Thanksgiving Break.
The 25th annual DePauw invitational kicks off today at 9:30 a.m. with finals slated for 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. DePauw will face opponents from Franklin College, Illinois Wesleyan University, Millikin University, Rhodes College, Rose-Hulman Institue of Technology, Transylvania University and Wittenberg.
"We really need to look out for Wittenberg," said senior Gina Zerbini. "We're pumped up to be facing them again. Of course we want to win the entire invitational, but I would like to see a big range between our scores and theirs."
The invitational is something the team looks forward to every year. Zerbini believes the support from the university really helps build up the team's confidence, especially from President Brian Casey, who invites the team to his house each year before the invitational to acknowledge the swimmers' hard work.
"This is something he started when he became president," Zerbini said. "He wishes us good luck and tells us how proud he is. To have the president of your university, who used to be a swimmer, say that is really rewarding. We want to do well for him because he is so passionate."
Sophomore Allison Kirby said the team has been even more positive due to the tapering they've been doing for the past week. During tapering, the team reduces their yardage at each practice and focuses on getting more sleep.
"It's easier to keep positive that way since we aren't as tired," Kirby said.
So far this season, the team has been shining in distance events with senior captains Katie Morrison and Lindsey Bauman as well as freshman Emily Weber.
"[Weber] has really stepped it up and impressed us all," Zerbini said. "We have a really strong distance team."
Kirby said it's hard to find people who want to do the butterfly because it's so physically draining, making it the team's weakest event.
"We just don't have very many people," Kirby said. "We don't recruit flyers very much."
Since swimming is such a long season, the swimmers know they have to keep positive and focused in order to be successful in their meets.
"We've been working on a lot of starts and turns lately," Kirby said. "Our captains have been doing really well keeping us all positive and focused."
Zerbini believes the team has great chemistry this year. The Tigers also work to support each other and make practice fun, such as with a swimming Ken doll that they pass along to a new member each week as a reward for working hard or having a positive attitude.
"It's a small thing, but it's honestly such a big deal," Zerbini said. "The person who gets it feels so rewarded. With two and half hours of practice and weight room morning practices, it's just really good to have some appreciate what you do."