Oct. 19, 2012
INTERIM HEAD COACH T.J. Natal's COMMENTS HEADING INTO THE NORTH TEXAS MEET
On how his team matches up with North Texas
"Tomorrow will be our first home meet against North Texas. I think it'll shape up to be a really close meet. When you look at the two teams on paper, they're very even. Whoever would score the meet out before hand, it would really be up to them on who they favor. I think we're even in some events and each of us have our strengths in other events."
On the way Tulane performed in the season opener at UALR
"The girls performed very well against Arkansas (Little-Rock). We went in with the mentality that we were going to compete and our ultimate goal was to win the meet, but I think the girls kind of shocked themselves with how well we performed. That meet gave us some momentum and re-energized us to have a good week and a half to two weeks of training leading up to this meet. It just kind of helped to bring some momentum and high spirits into this meet."
On if there is a rivalry that has developed between Tulane and North Texas
"I'd definitely say that there is a rivalry. This was a meet that we highlighted at the very beginning of the season. It's one that we want to win and one that we felt we should have won last year but we let it slip away and they won it pretty handily."
On having some key players back this meet after having academic duties during the UALR meet
"We were missing two very important people two weeks ago in Arkansas in Kayla Alf-Huynh and Grace Tarka. I think both of them are very excited to get in the water and show what they can do. They've put a lot of good training in and I think them being there also motivates everyone else. Kayla is definitely our big stud as far as we can move her around and she has a lot of flexibility. She can swim a lot of events and that opens up other areas for girls to step it up in their events. There are a lot of high expectations going around the girls themselves, and as a coaching staff we're hyping up those big expectations."
On the way his freshman class has performed to date
"Our freshman class is even better than I think we could have ever imaged them being. We definitely thought we had a good class coming in, but they've kind of just stepped right in and filled a lot of voids for us. Not only that, but they've brought a new kind of energy to practice and to our competitions. There's a lot of pressure on the freshmen this year, especially a few of them. I know Roni (Meyer), Mia (Schachter) and EC - Elizabeth Cook - have a lot of extra pressure on them. They know that we need them to step up big time and I think that they're finding themselves and their groove with it."
DIVING COACH Justin Montrie's COMMENTS HEADING INTO THE NORTH TEXAS MEET
On how his team matches up with North Texas
"North Texas is going to be bringing three of their seven divers. Their coach really has a long history with the sport. He's spent most of his tenure at Yale and he knows how to train divers really well. On the Tulane side, I'm very, very impressed with the progress. Our junior leader Sadie Eicher - a captain - is really starting to respond well to the training. I've never seen her dive this well so we'll be looking for some good things out of her this week - especially on the 3-meter. What we'll be going for is a Zone cut, right around a 280-290-300 range. I think this will give us a nice indication of how far we have progressed in a year and how far we have to go. Under her, we have freshman Maren Kjell and Maren has been really fun to coach. She's come a long, long way since she got here to train together. This meet is her first home meet with the Green Wave so she's looking to show up and prove a point."
On his divers' performances in the season opener at UALR
"UALR was a really great meet for us. The girls were excited and really ready to represent the Green Wave, and I thought they did a great job. Sadie came away with a first (place finish) on the one-meter and really looked sharp. It was a learning experience for Maren as a freshman. Getting that first meet out of the way really helped to dispel some of the tension or apprehension she may have had and really put us in a nice position to do well this week and our weeks upcoming."
On having more than one diver to work with this year
"It's been great. Speaking back on Sadie's leadership, the qualities and characteristics she has outside of the pool puts our team in a completely new space than it's ever been before. As the team continues to grow in number, what we want to see is we want to see the character develop. We want to see them develop as confident young students, as athletes and as contributing members of this team. With a freshman who comes in, is so attentive and is so driven to follow in those footsteps, it really kind of reasserts the emphasis on not only showing up and doing a great job at each and every practice but pushing that envelope to push your teammates to move into a level that we've never seen before. I couldn't be more happy with the progress and am excited to see us win this weekend against North Texas."
On if there is a rivalry between Tulane and North Texas
"Absolutely. I think there is a little bit of a vendetta and we have something to prove. They came in last year and did quick and effective work on us. As a team, as a unit, as a group, as Tulane, we've really buckled down, set out some goals and I think this weekend we'll see those goals come to fruition. That will speak back on where we set the bar and where we end up placing."