The emotions were raw as Missouri swimming and diving saw its first match meet since March, when COVID-19 cut its spring season short.
Coach Andrew Grevers was humbled and glad to be back Friday. The swim and dive team currently doesn’t have a set schedule, but he was able to secure Friday morning’s match against TCU on Monday.
“When I got the test results back on Thursday, and got the ‘all clear’ that our athletes were good, and got the same thing from TCU saying their athletes were good, I started to get excited,” Grevers said. “When both teams were here this morning, showed up for warmups and we were all in the water getting our athletes ready to go, I got overwhelmed with emotion. Six months ago, you had no idea when your next competition was going to be.”
Grevers and his staff dedicated themselves to a rigorous offseason, preparing like never before, and the work showed.
Missouri swept TCU in a dominant outing for both men and women. The men’s team came away with a big win with a score of 183.5-113.5. The women’s team blew its opponent out, running away with a 193-100 win. Both Megan Keil and Ben Patton put on a show, as they came away with three event wins each.
Keil came out on top in the 50-meter freestyle, 100 free and 100 butterfly. She credited her success to the feeling of being back out in the water.
“Just our team atmosphere, everybody was super excited to get back into racing,” Keil said. “It’s our first meet that we’ve had in a long time, so I think that was the main factor.”
Patton won the 100 back, 100 free and 200 IM. With this being his sophomore season, he credited his wins to his growth and offseason experience.
“This was probably my most successful in-season meet in college,” Patton said. “I definitely feel like I’ve improved quite a bit.”
Grevers noted that the atmosphere was vastly different. He said the program’s motto, “Zou Style,” is all about bringing energy to every match they partake in.
“Our athletes had to massively adjust the way they cheer,” Grevers said. “They’re not allowed to embrace or interlock. We had to find new ways to disperse the excitement and energy and keep that ball rolling.”
The second-year coach described a detailed offseason process that has pushed MU over the edge and allowed it to not only remain competitive but be able to come out hot after months without organized action.
“We’ve embraced some new philosophies and coaching styles in sports swimming,” Grevers said. “We’re kinda rewriting the book on how to coach swimmers. We took COVID as an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and find a better way. We’re doing things that probably no other team in the country is doing from a training standpoint.”
Missouri currently doesn’t have a future match scheduled, but Grevers and his “Zou Style” philosophy have pushed this group toward a great start and what he hopes will be an even better season than the last.