The Florida A&M men’s and women’s swim teams will dive into action Friday and Saturday as underdogs against neighboring schools.
Florida State and the University of Florida Gulf Coast will have their hands full when they face the 18 swimmers of FAMU. Led by Coach Jorge Olavez, who replaced Douglas Carrington, the team is prepared to face any opponent because their swim coach has much faith.
“We are like the movie 300,” Olavez said.
He said despite the lack of numbers on the roster, his team has a chance to compete and win. Both squads consist of only nine swimmers.
The women’s team is coming off a 51-27 loss to UNF and is looking to win despite their disadvantage. Losing the meet was a minor setback for the Lady Rattlers, but looking forward, the goals for the swimmers are a little different.
“Doing our best and breaking personal records should be our main key,” Bria Bennett said.
Bennett, 19, of Philadelphia, is in her second year on the swim team and she is a constant threat in the women’s Butterfly and Freestyle events. Bennett and her teammates will swim against a dominant Florida Gulf Coast squad consisting of 35 swimmers.
The men’s team no longer has a swimming pool to practice in on campus, so they practice at Florida State facilities.
“It’s hard to practice because we have to go away from our home to swim,” Quintavious Brown said.
Brown, 18, of Atlanta, has only been swimming competitively for two years and looks to upperclassmen to lead the way.
“The upperclassmen help me a bunch and they know what it takes to win,” Brown said.
The Rattlers look to veteran leadership, but help from the freshman can get the Rattlers back to national prominence.
“We want to get back to our 2002 through 2004 status as the HBCU champions,” Olavez said.
The loss of the swimming pool was detrimental to the team; but with high expectations of themselves, the team is expecting a championship this year.
The quest back to the top begins Friday at Florida State at 5 p.m.