BOISE, Idaho The Boise State swimming & diving team looks to the upcoming season with a sense of excitement and readiness. The goal of the season is to swim up and to compete against some of the best teams in the country. With a schedule that would make even the most experienced and accomplished programs tremble, the Broncos will look to prove themselves against some of the nation’s elite, with their first true testament of the season coming when they take on the University of Washington and the University of Utah, Oct. 3-4, held at the West YMCA in Boise.
There will not be much time for rest between the first two meets as the Broncos make a quick turnaround and head down to New Mexico to compete at the WAC Shootout, Oct. 10-11. The first day of competition will feature New Mexico State and Northern Arizona, while day two will be against Air Force and Northern Colorado. According to head coach Kristin Hill, “Racing two days in a row is important in getting used to competing as the season gets underway. It will also ultimately prepare is for the three-and-a-half day conference championships in February and the three-day NCAA Championships in March.”
The travel continues for Boise State when the team makes its first trip down to San Jose State. The Broncos beat the Spartans head to head on the first day of competition in Boise last season, so the coaches expect this to be an intense meet with tensions running high. “Competitions like this keep things fun,” Hill said. “I know the girls will be excited to travel and race against San Jose.”
Returning to the pool this season is Fresno State, who just brought back their women’s program this season. “Our team understands what it is like to be new,” Hill said. “As a coach, I want to be sure their first year swimmers feel respected and that we send the right message.” Being a new program, this meet will feature some events that many of the swimmers may not have had the chance to swim in the past, which will help make the team more well-rounded with the opportunity to swim in some of their favorite events even if they are not their favorites. “We’re excited to have another new team in our conference,” added Hill. “We look forward to competing against them as they get better and better.”
The Broncos will make their second consecutive appearance at the Husky Invitational, which not only marks the capstone meet for the first half of the season, but will show just how far they have come as a team in such short amount of time. “We look forward to competing in the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way,” said Hill. “I know we will be much more competitive than we were last season.”
Last season the team spent a few weeks training and competing in California, but this year they make a trip across the Pacific to train in Hawaii. “This trip is intentionally planned during a very key part of our season where our last few weeks of heavy training take place,” Hill said. “At the same time, we want to stay sharp and ready to compete, so we will have some meets mixed in as well.” The team will spend eight days in Honolulu where they will compete against the University of Hawaii and other teams who will be training on the island as well. However, the trip will not be work and no play as there will be down time in between practices and competitions for the girls to relax on the beach, snorkel around the reef, and take in a luau or a boat trip.
The final road trip of the regular season will be a true test for the Broncos as they travel to the Palouse to take on in-state rival Idaho and Washington State back-to-back. The weekend will kick-off on Saturday at the University of Idaho where coach Hill expects the Vandals to be just as aggressive as they were two years ago on their first trip to Moscow. Following the competition, the team will make the short drive across the border to Pullman, Wash., to compete at WSU. “Washington State had domes good recruits come in this fall, so I know they will be tough, but it is important to have multiple days of competition as we gear up for our championships,” said Hill. “We are a much stronger team than we were when we competed against them two years ago, so it will be a fun race.”
The seniors will be recognized at the final home meet of the season against Oregon State. “This will be the last fine tuning meet before our conference championships,” added Hill. “We look forward to racing well against the Beavers and know we will have much more competitive races than we did when we competed against them two years ago.”
Expectations are high but realistic for the Broncos when they look down the road to the Western Athletic Conference Championships. The team looks forward to traveling to San Antonio, Texas to compete against conference foes at the championship. “We are already talking about this season’s conference championships,” said Hill. “We’ll keep our goal within the team, but I know we are really going to surprise some people this season with our desire to compete and move up in the conference.”
Ask coach Hill what she hopes to gain from the upcoming season with such a challenging schedule and she will give it to you straight. “We won’t be as concerned with our dual meet record as we will with performing at our best during the championship phase of the season,” she said. “Great competition will prepare us well for our conference and NCAA championships.”