UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a few months of traveling on the road, the men's and women's swimming and diving teams are set to return to McCoy Natatorium on Saturday. The team will face Villanova in its last home dual meet of the season before championship season commences.
It will be a special day for the Nittany Lions as they represent the graduating class on Senior Day. For head coach Tim Murphy, this will be his third senior day with the club.
"Anytime you get to watch a graduating class, it shows their commitment to the program," Murphy said. "It shows how fond they are of what they're doing as a member of the team."
Murphy said that it is a nice touch to see family members come out to show their support for the team on celebratory days such as this. To be a collegiate swimmer for four to five years is a tough accomplishment and should be proudly recognized.
"It's always nice to see their families come down on deck, and share a little time with them," he said. "Giving them a brief moment where everybody is looking at them.
"To stick it out through the thick and thin, highs and the lows. That's all a part of the game [and] is something special. It's very rewarding to be a part of."
The team was able to get in some extra practice and down time after having a change in the schedule two weeks prior. With the original Navy meet cancelled due to snowstorms, and only the men competing last week, the women were able to have a break with some quality relaxing time.
"I think it might have been a little bit of a nice break," Murphy said. "Coming off of the training trip [in Florida,] we train real hard for two weeks, go right into school, then school starts to pile up. So we're trying to get them rested and refreshed.
"As much as we would've liked to compete, I think not traveling, not being on the bus, and resting a little bit more played to our favor."
Relaxation meant that there were no additional training sessions to replace the spare time. Coach said that regular training sessions were kept on task and the rest of the free time helped the swimmers save energy and catch up on schoolwork.
"I think we've done enough up to this point in time," he said. "I think it was good for the men because they had a little bit more time. But, you can't really measure what you haven't done. I think the ladies probably enjoyed the weekend off."
As far as competing for this weekend goes, it is more of a dress rehearsal for the team. With this being the last meet in the regular season, it is another opportunity to get in some racing practice and see other skills in the pool.
"What we'll look for is what's showing up. Do they need a little bit more rest to keep going? Do we need to focus on a certain skill aspect? There are certainly some things to learn from the racing, but we're not going to make it too complicated at this point in time," Murphy said.
When making sure the swimmers are still focused on other meets prior to Big Tens, Murphy said that with nonstop training for two months, the team is prepared. As for the seniors, it's all about embracing the moment, treating the game for what it is, and enjoying the rest of their time with the team.
"This is what we train for and it's a challenge. You don't have a game every Sunday where you peak each game," Murphy said. "In some respects, everything leading up to this point in time, you're trying to follow a progression.
"What we try to do is pace ourselves emotionally. Don't get too excited too soon, the meet will come and you're going to need that energy, and really try to have some fun with it."
The meet is set to begin at 1 p.m.