The saying “practice makes perfect” is a well-known phrase used in today’s sports by coaches as well as athletes. However, a slight dilemma is hindering the University’s swimming & diving team from achieving perfection.
The team has been unable to practice in recent weeks because of contamination in the University pool.
“We are frustrated, upset and disappointed. But it’s my first year plus we just got the team back; I anticipated problems this year,” head coach Ian Lee said. “We are going to bounce back.”The unclean pool is just one of the many problems the program has encountered in its attempt to rebuild.
Lee said the team was unable to continue with its normal practice schedule, which conflicted with the Rattlers’ preparation for the Northeast Conference Championship.
A few of the swimmers were dissatisfied about the conditions of the swimming pool but realized there were much larger issues the team needed to focus on.
“My first reaction was trying to get to a pool anywhere in Tallahassee for us to practice,” men’s swim team captain Mujahid El-Amin said. “We have a competition coming up.”
With his previous lifeguard work experience, El-Amin was determined to find the team a place to practice. The butterfly and individual medley swimmer worked for the city of Tallahassee and assumed the team could practice at Meyers Park.
However, this was not the case. The team was asked to leave the pool because pool staff was not notified that the team was coming. Despite the short notice of the team being unable to practice, the conference is still around the corner, and the team still has no pool to practice in.
“We should not have to go through this,” El-Amin said. Robert Lucas, facility operator, said the swim coach talked to the athletic director about the pool and the problem was being handled.
“There were no financial problems,” Lucas said. “It was just a matter of communication.”
The team developed a bond by working out together in FAMU’s recreation center as they waited for the pool conditions to be taken care of.
Lucas predicted that things will get better for the swim team next year.
Sophomore Dennis Mobley, 20, from Riviera Beach felt let down by the school’s failure to provide decent accommodations. But he was hopeful that condtions will improve by the next season.
“We worked so hard all season to get to the championship, and when we finally accomplish that, we have nowhere to practice,” Mobley said. “I just plan for next season to be better.”
Mobley said he wants more support from the athletic department and the students.
Although this particular incident has not happened continuously, Lee said he hopes the swim team, along with University leadership, will improve.
“I’m not upset this year, we just need some cleaning up to do, but if this is still happening three years from now, it becomes a problem,” Lee said.
The Rattlers swimming & diving team’s Northeast Conference Championship will be held Feb. 15 – 17.