With just one home meet this season and a traveling schedule that takes it everywhere from North Carolina to Minnesota, decreasing gas prices would benefit the university’s swim team this season.
Since the program’s return last year, the swim team has had many complications that have hindered its attempt to rebuild itself, after being temporarily cut in 2004 because of a lack of funding. The lack of a home-team advantage is one of the problems the team faces.
A few of the players are able to cope with inability to have fan support, but hope to see changes in the future.
Sophomore Dennis Mobley has been a part of the swim team since he arrived at FAMU. He has realized patience is needed, but said he understands why there is not as much fan support as the team would like.
“Students ask about meets, but they can’t come.” Mobley said.According to Ian Lee, head coach of the swim and dive team, not having swim meets at home affects recruitment.
After being one of the four programs cut in 2004, some players said it is hard to get a full schedule because some schools do not know the team had been reinstated.
Lee said the weather in Tallahassee also keeps the Rattlers from taking the pool at home.
“The outdoor facility during this type of weather just does not coincide with our schedule,” Lee said.
Lee said the team can beat the environmental factors by putting a bubble over the pool. A bubble is a temporary closure to secure the pool from the weather.
Lee said the team will hold a fundraiser to get a bubble placed over the swim facility to avoid weather-related issues. As far as the effects on the team as a whole, Mobley said the team’s performance should not be affected.
“If you can swim, you can swim,” Mobley said. “A place shouldn’t matter.”
However, sophomore Brittany Wade said she enjoys any type of support and recognition, just like any other sport.
“It makes us feel bad because we don’t get to show off at home,” Wade said.
Not only are meets away from home, but they are usually in another state. The team has had meets in North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Indiana, Maryland and Washington D.C.”The games are not even close,” Wade said.
The closest meet the swim team has is located in Jacksonville.Wade said the first meet they had at home was poorly planned. The meet was a scrimmage.
“Recruitment, how you train and an uncovered facility all create challenges for the swimmers, but what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” Lee said.
Through all obstacles, Lee said a quality team can still be produced.
In addition to holding meets on campus, an improved facility would give the team an outlet to help the Tallahassee community.
“With the bubble, we can offer swimming lessons to kids.” Lee said.
Despite the disappointing schedule, Wade said she is patiently waiting for some changes to occur.
“The school is doing what they need to do to help the team,” she said. “I understand it takes time.”
Despite the hassles the team faces, sophomore Jason Little said he is just happy to have the team back. Little explained that the team is taking whatever they can get right now because the team is still in its rebuilding stage.
“It’s been times we wouldn’t even have hotel rooms,” said Little. “We wake up in the morning, get on the bus and head straight to the pool.”
Little said the team has to take one step at a time in the rebuilding process.
“Since the swim team is back, we are trying to gain our credibility back.”