HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Over the last weekend, the UH Swimming and Diving team showed out at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships — with the women taking home first place while the men took home second.
The weekend’s rewards, a sweet treat for the ‘Bows who had to navigate competing during the pandemic, but according to head coach Elliot Ptasnik, the MPSFP Championship will serve as a spring board or a diving board for whats next for his athletes.
“We just keep on saying the word momentum, each kind of competition we did in even the days in those competitions, team just got better and better.” Coach Ptasnik said. “So now we turn our focus to the NCAA championships and then it’s an Olympic year and swimming as in diving is very big Olympic sport, so we will also shift our gears towards a long course training, we already have one qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, we hope to have more and we hope to make quite a statement in other Olympic trials here in the U.S. and around the world, Canada, South Africa, so we’re just gonna keep on going.”
The ‘Bows have a laundry list of athletes looking to qualify to represent their respective nations ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Summer Games — games delayed due to the pandemic.
“For the U.S. Olympic trials, Tim Gallagher, he’s a sophomore, he won both the 100 and 200 backstrokes this championship, again he has just tremendous momentum going for him, he’s a type of athlete you might see in a final at the U.S. Olympic trials.” Coach said. “Senior Micah Masei, he has already qualified to represent American Samoa in Tokyo and then there’s a whole bunch of others, Tim Masten representing Slovenia, Anna Kotonen representing Finland, Daphne Wils on the diving board, one of the best divers we’ve ever seen, representing the Netherlands.”
A sense of pride overwhelms coach Ptasnik with the thought of his athletes being a part of the Oympics.
“I’ve had the opportunity to go to the last two Olympics, Rio and London.” Coach said. “You know, as an Olympic sport, that’s it, that’s what you want to do, It’s what you dream about since you’re eight years old, so even just to participate in an Olympic trials is very special and to even go to the Olympic games, you’re one of the best athletes in the world, extremely special. "
Not trying to get ahead of themselves, Ptasnik says that the ‘Bows will take it one step at a time, as they head into the national tournament.
“We have various goals in our program, first conference, that’s our biggest team event, next is NCAAs and then next is kind of the big stage of Olympic trials and the Olympics.” Coach said. “So again, we’re just kind of getting started and we’re excited to continue.”
The first NCAA Zone tournament is set for March 8th in Flagstaff, Arizona.