Daily Egyptian

Salukis distance themselves from competition

By Aaron Graff

The Saluki swimming and diving team began its season during family weekend and learned that distance swimming will be a strength this year.

The team held its first tournament of the year at home, with the Saluki Miler Friday and the 5K open water swim Saturday. Coach Rick Walker said it was a good start to the season and the team has an idea of where they stand. Walker said all the team needs to do is continue training.

“Too often, we can be reactionary,” Walker said. “Simply because of the work load that we do on any given week, they come up and their performances might not be that great. All of a sudden we change everything we are doing, when all we needed to do was just stay the course.”

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Friday the Salukis won three total events, including the men’s and women’s mile.

On the men’s team, sophomore Till Pallmann finished his mile with a time of 15:57.59, more then a minute ahead of the second place finisher. Walker said he expects Pallmann to finish well at tournaments like these. Pallmann said he can still improve, but was also proud of the race he swam.

“If he is going to be at the national level, then he is going to have to swim like he is at the national level,” Walker said. “I want his expectation and his focus to be thinking a minute is not enough.”

On the women’s side, senior Pamela Benitez finished with a time of 17:08.77. Benitez’s gap was closer than Pallmann’s, but she still finished nine seconds ahead of fellow sophomore Helena Amorim. Benitez said she was happy to see a younger swimmer show the ability to replace her when she graduates.

“As long as there is someone new that is also good, that means the team is still getting there,” Benitez said.

Pallmann also found success in the 400 individual medley swim, but it was his teammate, junior Calvin Kolar that came away with the win. Kolar finished just ahead of Pallmann with a time of 4:09.03.

The Salukis found success in the 5K open water swim Saturday. Benitez and Pallmann both won the event, and Amorim finished second for the women again.

“It really shows that we have a pretty good team on the men’s side, as well as on the women’s side,” Pallmann said.

The team will have its fan appreciation day Oct. 5. Walker said the fans give the athletes drive and a reason to compete.

“With them here it gives our athletes a meaning to competing and representing this school,” Walker said. “So we just want to take time to appreciate them and all the hard work that they do.”

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