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Nittany Lions Reduce Pressure Before Big Tens

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11698157.jpegBy Michele Jaroszewski, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's swimming and diving team begins its journey in the Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor on Wednesday.

Along with the men's teams, the Nittany Lions took a different approach in training the last few weeks and head into the postseason with confidence.

In preparation for the eventful weekend, head coach Tim Murphy said that it was more about relaxing rather than kicking into high gear. Since the teams have been working hard for the past two months, it was time to take things a little slower and release some of the tension.

"We're trying to get them rested. As you go through the season, you're kind of tired most of the time," Murphy said. "We're going through a process now where we pick our spots, spread out the work that we do, and lessen the amount of work."

Over the past week, practices were shortened in order to give the swimmers extra time to heal. The goal of the shorter practices was to get the essential workouts done, then have the extra time for schoolwork and some well-rested sleep.

With all that extra time relaxing, Murphy said that he has noticed the teams coming to practice full of energy and excitement.

"There is a different feel to [practice.] Everyone is putting the final touches on what they are doing and how they're doing it," Murphy said. "The amount of work and the time we're putting in at the start of this rink is still here."

As the weeks went on, each practice meant one step closer towards the big competition. Murphy said there is added pressure, just like any other competitive event. The important thing is not to get lost in the pressure.

"Juices get flowing, nerves are flowing. I think a key thing is to pace themselves, and make sure that energy doesn't' make their brain kind of spin where they start to get scared," Murphy said. "We've worked too long and hard to be scared. I don't want them to try to drum up any extra energy and emotion when we walk out on deck to race. We want to take a step back and relax a bit."

When it comes to worrying about the swimmers losing focus and becoming too relaxed, Murphy said he has none.

"I think most of it is trying to pace them emotionally and pace their energy. When it's game time, they know what's in front of them," said Murphy. "I don't have that much worry about them not getting geared up enough."

Events will begin Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and will go until Saturday. The men's team will have its turn next weekend in West Lafayette. 

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