After taking some time to rest up and recover, the 2012 North Coast Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championships are here at last.
"We've been training really hard all season," senior Catie Baker said. "We want to have a good showing our first year [in the NCAC] and show them what DePauw's made of."
With the second and third highest nationally ranked teams, with second-ranked Kenyon and third-ranked Denison sitting atop the conference, the Tigers have set their goal on third place.
"We're going to be in a tight battle for third against Wittenberg and a number of other schools," assistant coach Erin Mullins said. "It'll be a great atmosphere. I think it'll help them swim faster."
The Tigers are eager to be facing tougher competitors than they have in previous years in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
"Unless you go to nationals you aren't usually facing that kind of talent, so we're lucky," junior Kelly Harms said.
Baker said that this will be a much deeper meet than those in the past and that while the SCAC had some talented swimmers, the NCAC is a much greater level of competition.
"Honestly, we are competing for third realistically," Baker said. "It would take some phenomenal life-out swims to beat Kenyon and Denison."
Besides the conference title, many of the athletes are competing for a chance to swim or dive at the Div. III women's swimming and diving national championships at Indiana Univeristy-Purdue University Indianapolis's Natatorium.
There are three different ways to make the national competition so the Tigers will not necessarily need to win the championships overall to have some swimmers go on to nationals. In the NCAC, two levels of time and scoring standards are created in events to gauge athletes who do not win their event. An A-cut time means a swimmer automatically has a spot at the nationals. A B-cut time gives an athlete a reserve-type status at the national competition. These standards are created at the beginning of the season and can be reached at any time during the season.
"If you get a B-cut time, you pretty much sit around and wait," Mullins said.
Baker has already received B-cut times in the 100 breast and 200 breast. Mullins said that there is still a possibility to achieve an A-cut time at championships.
"It's all based on the individual," Harms said. "[The team] could win conference and not have anyone qualify. It's the luck of the draw."
Overall, the team is excited to face faster swimmers and compete in the NCAC for the first time.
"I believe everyone's going to do really well," Harms said. "We mixed up a lot of things compared to last year. I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone swims. It'll be rewarding."