We are here! The moment that has been talked about nearly non stop since September last year, Nationals 2011. We have spent hours and hours working towards this, tolerated large amounts of pain and sacrificed many things. That all paid off for us at conference where we managed to get seven guys and one girl qualified to swim at here in Knoxville this week, but this is the big show. Now is when it counts and I for one am very excited!

The University of Tennessee Pool

Allow me to introduce the team…

I’ll begin with the rose amongst the thorn, the only girl surrounded by seven boys.

Kate Duvall

Kate Duvall

Kate is just a Freshman this year and she managed to qualify in possibly the most competitive event of the entire meet. The woman’s 200 Backstroke. She broke the Whitworth school record with a 2.03.79 to be seeded 15th in the event and will be looking to lower that mark again for sure! Kate will also be swimming in the 500 Freestyle where she is seeded 32nd and the 100 Backstroke where she seeded 35th.

Nathan Ranno

Nathan Ranno

Nathan is a Sophomore who had a fantastic Conference meet this year and helped us qualify the Men’s 200 Medley relay. The guy has packed on some muscle this season and the strength really showed at Conference. Unfortunately he just missed qualifying for any individual events this year, but if he makes the same progress he did this season next year he will be back for sure!

Oliver Durand

Austin Vierra, Michael Woodward, Oliver Durand & Myself

Oliver too is only a Freshman, but he has been a very valuable part of this team this season. He swam our third leg of the 800 Freestyle relay at conference and played a big role in helping us qualify that relay for the big show. Unfortunately he too just missed out on qualifying for any individual events this year, but that means he will be very ready to do work on that relay on Friday! I have no doubt that he will qualify individually next season after getting the chance to see what it’s all about this year!

Aaron Vaccaro

Aaron is a freshman this year, but I have to be honest I have never seen a guy with so much explosive power in my whole life. He put up arguably the two best swim of the 2011 season in the 50 Free and 100 Fly this year. He was the first Whitworth swimmer to break 50.00 in the 100 Fly and is seeded 15th with a 49.84 in the event. He was also the first Whitworth swimmer to break 21.00 in the 50 Free and is seeded 29th on a 20.95. Look for big things from this guy here in Knoxville and in the future!

Austin Vierra

Austin came in as a transfer to Whitworth this year from one of the fastest D3 universities in the country. He had a solid Conference meet in February but he has gotten better and better as the days have gone on since then. Austin sits 16th in the 500 Freestyle but I would not be at all surprised to see him jump way up the standings. He is also swimming the 200 Freestyle and the 1650 Freestyle and I will expect he’ll be faster in both those events too!

Michael Woodward

Say Hey

This is Mike’s last meet as a Whitworth swimmer and potentially his last ever as swimmer (although I’m sure he will pick it up again at some point!). Obviously he is looking to go out with a big bang and I think he is more than capable of creating the fireworks we want to see! He is seeded 11th coming into the 200 IM this year, he finished 11th in the event last year so I know he is going to jump up the rankings when all is said and done. He is also swimming the 100 and 200 Freestyle, he holds the Whitworth school records in both those events and I know he would love to lower those marks before he leaves!

Kalen Darling

The “Pussycat” Ready To Pounce

Just like Mike, this will be Kalen’s last meet as a Whitworth swimmer. As a Junior last year the guy ripped it up going a 3.59.04 and took 7th in the 400 IM. He’s back this year, seeded 13th with his 4.01.24 from Conference, I know he’s got more in him though so lookout Knoxville! Kalen  also put together solid races in the 500 Freestyle and the mile last year, but to show off his divisibility a little bit, he decided this year to go with the 200 IM and the 200 Backstroke instead of the 500 Free and mile. No biggie. I’m looking forward to seeing what he pulls out in these two races. There could be some school records that go down!

ME!

I’m up in the 50 Free, the 100 Breast and the 200 Breast this weekend. I had a fantastic nationals meet last year, and would love to repeat that or out perform myself this year. I have had a much better season this year and I feel ready to swim fast. So here we go…

Dressed to Impress for the Banquet Dinner

It’s a good looking team on a honorable mission. We have our goals firmly in sight and there should be nothing that gets in our way! You can keep up with what we are doing by checking in here daily!

You can see the action live starting at 10am tomorrow morning (Eastern Time!) by clicking here

You can also check the live results as they happen by clicking here