COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 20. THE battle to make it into the championship final of the 200 freestyle at the NCAA Men’s Division I swimming and diving championships will be a close battle, but the next swimmer in our series of first-time NCAA qualifiers believes he will make the top eight.
Name: Michael DiSalle
Year, school: Junior, Ohio State
Events he’ll swim: 50, 100, 200 freestyle
Swimming World: Congratulations on qualifying for the NCAA championships! You had a great meet at the Big 10 championships, setting a school record in the 200 free and helping Ohio State win the 200 free relay. What’s been the key to your success this season?
Michael DiSalle: Over the summer I really focused on my technique and restructured my stroke. So training all season with this improved technique really helped me succeed a lot this year. Also this is my third year swimming at Ohio State, so I knew what to expect training-wise through out the season. Since I knew what to expect I was able to do the training sets better than I have the previous two years.
SW: You’re seeded sixth in the 200 freestyle among a lot of swimmers in the 1:33 range. What do you think you’ll have to do to secure a spot in the championship final?
DiSalle: I think all I have to do is replicate or be faster than my time, because historically at this meet most people do not swim faster than their seed time. If I can be out 45 (seconds) at the 100 with a controlled stroke I should be able to be 1:33 again.
SW: The consensus is that the 200 freestyle is one of the hardest events because it falls between a sprint and a distance event. Why do you like the race?
DiSalle: I like the race because you need a combination of speed and endurance. You have to be out fast at the 100 to be in the race and you need to have enough endurance to bring the last 100 back tough.
SW: Ohio State has been getting better as the season goes on, including that close dual meet with Michigan. What’s the philosophy the team has been working on this season?
DiSalle: The main philosophy this year I think was staying positive and improving on teamwork. Last year there was a lot of negativity on the team and we were not that close as a team. This year the team was very positive and everyone was supporting each other during every race.
SW: A few of your teammates are veterans of the NCAA championships. How have they been preparing you for what’s to come next week?
DiSalle: I went to NCAAs last year as a relay alternate but this will be my first year swimming individual events, so I have some idea of what to expect. I have been told that if you replicate your seed time or go faster then you have a good shot at making it back to finals. So if everything goes according to plan then I will be scoring some big points for my team.
SW: Your cousin, Dan, is a sophomore on the team. How much did you have to convince him to come to Ohio State?
DiSalle: When Dan came to visit me his senior year in high school I think he had a really good time. He liked the guys on the team, the campus, and that it was close to home. So I think after he realized all of those things it did not take that much convincing for him to realize that Ohio State was the best fit for him. He has loved it ever since he has been here so he made a good decision.
SW: How much has this season so far met or exceeded your expectations?
DiSalle: I think I exceeded a lot of other people’s expectations of me but I have met most of my expectations that I set for myself. It was a goal of mine to break the school record and go 1:33. It was also a goal of mine to help the team win the 200 free relay at Big Tens. I set high goals for myself this year and I achieved most of them, but not all. Most people do not achieve the high goals that they set for themselves, so for me to achieve most of my goals makes me happy but I know I can be even better in the future and continue to exceed expectations at NCAAs.