March 10, 2014
• Hite News Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin swimming and diving head coach Whitney Hite met with members of the media Monday at the Kohl Center to look ahead to the upcoming women's and men's NCAA championships.
Video of Hite's media session can be found above, and a complete transcript of his remarks is below.
Whitney Hite: "We're real excited. We're taking six women to the meet next week and seven men the following week. Just trying to land the plane and score as many points as we can.
On the women's side, it's we've got one superstar in Ivy Martin, and we'll rely heavily on our relays.
On the men's side, it's almost the exact opposite. We have a couple more individual superstars and our relays aren't as good. Although our 800-yard freestyle relay I think will be in the last heat, which means they qualified in the top-eight. So that's definitely some progress for us, and we're excited about that.
Just looking forward to some great performances and some fast swimming."
Q. In your eyes, what are the advantages of swimming in two pools that your team already has experience in this season?
COACH HITE: "Well, I told our ladies last week that nobody knows the Minnesota pool better than we do other than Minnesota. We've been over there quite often. And I was talking to Ivy a lot about it. She knows the walls, the lighting, the blocks, the deck. Everything's very familiar. So, obviously, for us, it's an advantage.
Going down to Texas, we've been down there before. Texas' pool is so fast, even I swam fast there. So that's an advantage. We know that the pool's fast. We've had some good experiences down there.
So we always try to make wherever NCAAs are, we make it a point of visiting those places and making sure that the more we can control the controllables and be more familiar, that's the better off we are."
Q. How can a pool be fast? Isn't water water?
COACH HITE: "Water is water, but if you look at the depth of the water, the gutter systems, the way the water flows away from the competition pool ideally, a pool is nine feet all the way across. Some pools are seven. Some pools are eight.
But typically the overflow gutters that means when the water flows over onto the deck, it doesn't flow back into the competition pool. So Texas' pool is like I said, I even swam fast there. So that means it's possible for anybody."
Q. Swimming isn't one of those sports where it's not like football or basketball where you've got superstars in college and they play on TV in front of everybody and then they go to the pros and things like that. But along those same lines, how good is Ivy Martin? Is she the type of kid that will swim at the Olympic level, at the professional level? What are your ambition missions as they concern Ivy Martin?
COACH HITE: "Sure. We'll see. I think that she's on the U.S. National Team, which means that she's top six in the 50-yard freestyle, which is pretty elite company. Her trajectory is still moving up very quickly. We've got a couple more years, which is a good thing. She just keeps getting better and better.
Drew teDuits is a guy that's going to be a little bit of a player. I think Michael Weiss, who's our volunteer coach who's still training, he's going to be a player. And Nick Caldwell, who's a transfer from Florida this year, a junior, he's going to be a player.
So we've got some athletes that are going to if they don't make the Olympic team, they're going to be in the hunt and they're going to be in the final heat, which is what you want. You just want a chance."
Q. Just looking at the schedule for both men and women, there's almost a month layover in between Big Ten Championships and NCAA. Can that hurt or help swimmers?
COACH HITE: "We'll find out. I think it will help us. We kind of fine tune everything. It seems every year that I don't do as well a job as I should as far as getting them ready for Big Tens, as far as the rest. The guys are always complaining that they need more rest. And they're right. I just get nervous.
We tend to swim a lot better on our second shave. We shaved for shaved and tapered for Big Tens, and now this for NCAAs we'll do that again. We typically go up for about a week, and then about two and a half to three more weeks of rest.
So historically we've been better when the lights are brightest."
Q. What's the next step this season for Ivy and how do you make sure she doesn't get consumed by that? I'm guessing she'd like to be in the hunt next week for an individual title.
COACH HITE: "I've done a lot of talking with her about just allowing herself to be great. I think that's the biggest thing. When you get to this level, just allowing yourself to dream a little bit and to be to focus on what you can do and all positive thoughts.
We had a real good conversation last Saturday about that and just allowing herself to do what she does and don't worry about the outcome necessarily, just make sure that she knows in her heart that she can be the best she can be."
Q. And who are some of the other swimmers, both men and women, that might be in store for a breakthrough performance over the next couple weeks?
COACH HITE: "Sure. Well, obviously, Drew teDuits is defending his National Championship in the 200 backstroke. Nick Caldwell will be we're hoping for some big points out of him. Nick Schafer in the breaststroke events. Rebecka Palm plays a big role for us in the 100 fly and the relays.
Our relays really for the women are very critical. We're in position to do some very special things on the relays, and those points are double.
So we just we don't have a lot of bullets. We just need to be keep reminding them you need to be like a sniper and just make sure you're on target."
Q. Coach, you mentioned Nick Caldwell. He's really helped contribute to the successes you've seen over the season and filling the shoes of Michael Weiss. Pretty much he set a couple records at Big Tens last weekend. What are your expectations for him, and what can you elaborate a little bit upon what he brings to the table for this program?
COACH HITE: "Nick is a perfect fit for our program. He is absolutely one of the hardest workers. You couldn't ask for more out of a kid. He got a 4.0 first semester here, which is not easy. He leads the lane. He's on our leadership committee, our leadership council. He's just a joy to coach.
He wants to work hard. He enjoys working hard. He enjoys the challenge. He enjoys the challenge of school being hard.
So for that, he leads by example. And we're thrilled to have him.
I know that, when he came in, he was a little bit his psyche was a little bit down. But to see him having fun again and racing fast and doing best times for the first time in three years, knowing how hard he's worked in three years to get to be faster than he's been, that's a win already for us.
I'm really excited for him to, again, believe in himself and allow himself to be great."
Q. You know, Drew teDuits last year accomplished something that hadn't happened here in a long time. How has he handled that and how has he improved from last year's National Championship?
COACH HITE: "Well, it's always different having the target on your back. And he has it's been a learning experience for him. I think he's done a really nice job. It's part of his maturing process and part of the process of we talk about all the steps that you need to take as an athlete.
Because it really doesn't end. If he defends his title, well, then, next year it will be two time defending national champion, and then we're looking on to making national teams and making the Olympics.
So it's all a very good learning process for him. He's better. He's more consistent. He's stronger. He's trained at a higher level. He can still there are still some things that he can get better at and he knows, and that's exciting. He's just really we're still kind of still scratching the surface with him.
So, yeah, it will be very interesting. I mean, the 200 back this year overall at NCAAs, it's one of the best events, fastest events in the country. And I'm excited to see him compete.