Written by Student Assistant Sarah Cornell-Maier
TACOMA, Wash. – After a full season of domination and hard work, the Pacific Lutheran University men's and women's swimming programs are headed into the Northwest Conference Championships this weekend with high goals and a lot of excited energy.
For some of the student-athletes, this competition is not so new. Senior Dennis Liu has competed in several Conference Championships, winning a conference title in the 100-yard breaststroke last season, and his experience has brought him a sense of calm and focus.
"Each championship swim meet has been different for me. Every year I have had a different goal to achieve," said Liu. "All I can do myself is focus on what I can do and mentally prepare for anything that could possibly happen and swim the best meet I can."
Both the PLU men's team and the women's team have strong competitors, with first-year Kaycee Simpson holding the top times in the conference in the 200-yard butterfly and the 100-yard butterfly while Victoria Nguyenle holds the top position in the 200-yard breaststroke.
A universal goal for both the men and women's teams is to bring home conference titles, something the women did from 2014-2016.
"Both squads have a good chance if everyone has the confidence and swims the best they can," said Liu. "I think a lot of people are going to have a great meet and that's the thing I am most excited for, to see how they all do."
As for how he's feeling heading into his final Northwest Conference meet of his college swimming career, Liu has some mixed emotions.
"Excited, nervous, hyped, and anxious is what I have been feeling recently. I'm excited to race and compete against the rest of the conference and see my teammates compete."
As for advice for swimmers on his team who are going into their first Conference Championship meet, Liu has a few words of wisdom.
"I just tell them that the nerves are normal and they will be fine. They just need to trust their training as much as possible."
The Championships start on Friday at 10 a.m., located at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Washington and runs through Sunday.