HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawaii swimming and diving teams made history last month when both the men and women captured the MPSF conference championships in California.
Coming up, the NCAA swimming and diving championships are just a few weeks away and UH swimmers have their eyes set on an even bigger prize.
The men’s team will head into nationals with momentum, their win in February marked the first time in the history of the program the men’s swimming and diving teams captured the conference title.
The program has seen a vast improvement over the last few years and senior Metin Ayden has been a big reason for their success.
Ayden captured both the 100m and 200m free individual MPSF title and has seen the changes in his teammates work ethic and approach to competition.
“We started out on the bottom pretty much of the MPSF conference," said Ayden. "We worked our way up and right now to win it, just really shows how big of a team effort it was and how great the transition of the program was.”
The senior from Germany has been named the MPSF Swimmer of the year the last two seasons, but knows the national swim meet will bring the top competitors in the country.
“I always made top 16,” said Ayden. “I think going into March my goal will be top 8 in all my events.”
The MPSF team title was a milestone for the UH men’s program but it was expected for the women’s.
The Wahine captured their third consecutive MPSF title on the same night as the men, giving way to a celebration that the seniors of the program will never forget.
The ladies were led by Phoebe Hines who won the 1650 meter free and will head into Nationals later this month ranked number one in the country in the event.
“Honestly its a different feeling for me,” said Hines. “I have always been the underdog ya know the girl from Hawaii that nobody really knows about, its very different going into this being on top.”
UH swimming and diving head coach Dan Schummel has seen his team’s hard work now starting to reap it’s benefits.
Schummel believes their recent success is due to their changes in mental preparation.
“I think its just everyone accepting what it takes to be a division one athlete,” said Schummel. “They are committing to that type of lifestyle and holding everybody accountable.”
The NCAA national swimming and diving championships will take place at the University of Texas starting on March 20th and will conclude on the 30th.