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North Texas swimming and diving looks to prove doubters wrong at C-USA tournament

North Texas swimming and diving looks to prove doubters wrong at C-USA tournament

DENTON, TX - JANUARY 29: University of North Texas swimming camp; diving v Rice at Pohl Recreation Center in Denton on January 29, 2016 in Denton, Texas. (Photo Rick Yeatts)

North Texas swimming and diving looks to prove doubters wrong at C-USA tournament
February 23
16:07 2016

Torie Mosley | Staff Writer

@toriemosley

Standing poolside and watching the Mean Green swim team finish practice last Thursday at the Pohl Rec Center, North Texas head swim coach Brendon Bray ponders how much the team still has to prove.

The Mean Green will have that opportunity beginning Wednesday, when the Conference USA tournament is set to begin.

“It’s just another challenge we have,” Bray said. “For us, we just want to improve on how we did last year [in conference] and everything we do inside and outside of the pool matters.”

North Texas swimming and diving has averaged around a 3.5 GPA the last three years since Bray’s arrival and even had the No. 1 GPA of all NCAA division one swimming and diving programs in the nation two seasons ago. Seven athletes currently have 4.0 GPA’s as of February.

Raising the standards for the squad’s goals in the pool, according to Bray, begins in the classroom. The emphasis on the classroom sparks a competitive spirit within the team, which Bray says is vital for a team striving to be respected as a top program throughout the conference and across the nation.

“We have 28 student-athletes that are going to get honored at a basketball game,” he said, pointing at the athletes in the pool. “Several of them won’t be able to make it because they have to go to tutoring.”

Despite a 1-3 start to this season, the Mean Green swam to seven straight dual meet victories in a three-month span between the end of October and the end of January, with a 1st place finish at the Incarnate Word Invitational to put the icing on the cake.

The last dual meet win of the streak came on senior day a few weeks ago against Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex rival Texas Christian University with a score of 180-120. Senior sprinter Bianca Bocsa said beating TCU meant a lot to the team, who feel underappreciated in the collegiate swimming and diving world.

“If you ask someone on campus, ‘Hey, did you know we have a swim team,’ they say, ‘Oh really?’ Yes,” Bocsa said. “It’s a D-1 school that beat TCU, a private school who had great swimmers. We are underrated, but we keep on fighting and keep working hard to not have to introduce ourselves.”

After winning every dual meet throughout the Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays, the streak eventually came to a halt in Mansfield two weeks ago in a road matchup against Southern Methodist University.

Coming off the TCU upset prepared North Texas to compete in a close meet with a perennially talented SMU squad, according to freshman Rebekah Bradley.

“That was really close,” Bradley said. “It was only a couple touches that we lost by. We can definitely beat them in the future.”

With the conference tournament starting Wednesday, Bradley feels this is the most important meet in Mean Green swimming and diving history.

“It’s time for us to show all the other schools that may not think we’re as fast as them or can’t compete with them that we can,” Bradley said.

North Texas placed fifth in last year’s tournament after earning a program best 3-1 start to the 2014 season. Bocsa believes reaching the Mean Green’s goal to prove the world will take every ounce of effort from each individual athlete.

“It’s really important for us to stay focused, stay together and support each other because that’s what got us through TCU and close to SMU,” Bocsa said. “If we keep being positive we can be a lot faster than ever in the history of this school.”

Featured Image: Courtesy | Rick Yeatts

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