The Morning Swim Show, April 12, 2012: Gregg Parini Details Road to Denison’s National Championship

PHOENIX, Arizona, April 12. GREGG Parini, head swimming coach at Denison University, joins today's edition of The Morning Swim Show to analyze how the men's team was able to score their second consecutive team title.

Parini talks about the competition at the Division III championships and says it was not an easy road to the championship, despite the fact that Denison won the title more comfortably than last year. He also discusses the “rivalry” with Kenyon and which Denison athletes helped the men's and women's teams be successful this season. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.

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Peter Busch: This is the Morning Swim Show for Thursday April 12, 2012. I am your host Peter Busch in the FINIS Monitor today. We talked to Gregg Parini. He is the Head Swim Coach at Denison University. Their men just won their second consecutive Division III swim title. Coach Parini joins us right now in the FINIS Monitor from Granville, Ohio. Coach, welcome back to the show, how are you?

Gregg Parini: I am doing great. It is nice to see you again.

Peter Busch: Nice to see you. We talked to you at this time last year after you guys broke Kenyon's long streak and won your first title. I guess we are going to have to make this a yearly thing.

Gregg Parini: Well we wouldn't mind that a bit.

Peter Busch: I'm sure you would. Well last year you won by a mere point. This year you had a little bit more breathing room so to speak.

Gregg Parini: Yeah, well I mean we felt like we were a better team going into this year. More talent, more experience I think last year experience of you know having finally you know won the meet served us well. Ironically it was that experience, you know but we also ironically we had to let go of that meet in order for us to succeed this year but it is all we had a better team, we knew what we were up against better competition too so I thought the guys did a really good job of rising to the occasion, but they rose to the occasion all year long. We have to develop you know, you know from September to March and I am very pleased with the way it went.

Peter Busch: I want to give you a chance to recognize some of your student-athletes who did great and allowed this to happen. Tell us about some of those who stepped up at the big meet?

Gregg Parini: Well you know starting with the senior class, specifically Robert Barry who I think you know came off last year where he had been abroad first semester and I think that was a formative experience for him traveling abroad and training over in Denmark. It was a great experience for him. He came back, I think, a more mature swimmer as a junior and I think that that just rolled into a great senior year, you know him going out with two national records in both backstrokes and you know within a whisker of winning 100 fly this year I think you kind of set the pace for us. And he set the tone for us all year long. Robert is a very vocal, a very consistent leader of a team. He is great in the pool. He is great in the locker room. Not only holding himself accountable, but his teammates around him, great leadership from him, and then you go down to the sophomore class where we got like Al Wikus you know that got us off to a great start on Wednesday night with this national record in the 500 going 4:21. It was an aggressive swim. It was an attacking swim. It kind of– it was a Denison swim from that standpoint and for him then to come back and swim in a brand-new event for 400 IM becoming national runner up on the second day, anchoring our national record 800 free relay on the third day and went in the mile in national record time. Al was the pace setter for us all along so we are very, very happy with him and you know the list goes on but those two are the two standout for us.

Peter Busch: You know we should know what your women did pretty well. Third I believe.

Gregg Parini: Yeah the women did quite well. We are pleased. They had a little bit of adversity. Our best swimmer was you know struggling with a herniated disc or rather I should say a bulging disc at the meet. Alyssa Swanson had a tough time but the girls rallied around that. We really post as some great swims. Emily Schroeder, a senior, national runner up in the 200 backstroke. We got a couple of tight finishes in the 200 IM and the 400 IM as well Laura Callan another one of our senior cabinets that have done a great job with the team.

Peter Busch: So you mentioned some senior leadership on the guy's side despite that is it a young team? Are you losing a lot? I guess the big picture question is do you believe this could be the dawn of the Denison dynasty?

Gregg Parini: Well when it comes to streak I can only tell them as high as one and so that as far as I will count. But now next year is going to present a whole new line of challenges for the men's team, we think we have got a good talent base you know built off. We got some young swimmers coming up. You know as well as Al and Robert did for us this year, I think the key for us to have seen the improvement of guys like Jackson Humphrey who last year scored in only one event, coming back and going top 8 and 3 this year and kind of like Sean Chabot who had a very similar sort of pattern so we have got some young swimmers that are coming up and I think the key for us continue to develop our swimmer first I think we will have a competitive theme now what if that translates into another championship you know is yet to be seen but I think we will be competitive and we are looking forward to the challenge.

Peter Busch: You know we are talking to someone Kenyon recently on the show who said they are actually, they like having this great new rivalry with Denison. I mean they thought it was actually a good thing that it wasn't just chalk it in for Kenyon every single year.

Gregg Parini: Well, that is great perspective. I mean, we have got great respect for Kenyon along with every other team in the country, and we look forward to competing against anybody and you know this is not just a Kenyon-Denison dual meet by any means. I mean a lot of people want to frame it that way and we don't look at it that way. We've got to go through a lot of good teams to win this championship and there is a lot of very, like I said, very well-coached teams and some great talent out there so it is not just a Kenyon-Denison thing by any means.

Peter Busch: Aside from great swimming what is Denison University known for?

Gregg Parini: I think great academics, I think we are an academically-centered institution. We put a great deal of emphasis on student development here and it is a beautiful campus you know we are set in Central Ohio and it is a beautiful area in the Welsh Hills. It is a beautiful campus and great academics and pretty good swimming program.

Peter Busch: How did you wind up there?

Gregg Parini: That is a long story, but I would know about Denison during my college days. I have been coaching abroad and coaching in another small college for awhile and I know that the– I remember when the Denison job opened up I am like you know that is a school that could really support a great swimming program and so I was really excited to come down and with the idea of trying to develop a program into a national contender. The cupboard wasn't bare by any means when I got here. I inherited a pretty strong team one that had been the national runner up on the men's side one year and a women's team that had kind of cracked into the top 10 so there is a certain amount of inertia in the program when I got here and I have just tried to build on it from there.

Peter Busch: Well Coach congrats on all the success.

Gregg Parini: Thank you.

Peter Busch: From the looks of your office you are going to have to find a space for that new trophy behind you, but I am sure you will make it work.

Gregg Parini: Well it is great. Yeah, we are all opening up our new natatorium this summer so our office, new natatorium so hopefully it will give me a little bit more space for the hardware.

Peter Busch: Good deal, thanks a lot for joining us.

Gregg Parini: Thank you so much. Have a great day.

Peter Busch: All right that is Gregg Parini joining us from Denison University and that is it for today's show. I am Peter Busch reminding you to keep your head down at the finish.

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