Admit it: You thought swimming was just about diving in the water and racing as fast as you can.
Well, that's the basic premise.
But swimming is much more scientific than that. Heck, it can be a chemistry lesson if you want it to be.
Just ask Budd Termin, the University at Buffalo men's swimming coach.
He'll tell you all about the new ultraviolet system that replaced chlorine at the UB pool.
Most pool operators use chlorine to disinfect the water, which makes the entire area smell like the chemical. Think it's annoying for spectators to breath in? Try having that stuff in the air when you're sucking wind after swimming a couple of miles.
"Swimmers consume oxygen when they swim," Termin said. "That oxygen consumption has a significant effect on their overall metabolic power, which correlates to improved swimming performances. This system gives the athlete a better, cleaner environment to perform in.
"The swimmers knew immediately something was different with the water. We've been in pools all over the country and they could tell something was different the first day they were in the water. Swimmers, because they're in the water so much, their bodies grow very sensitive to changes. Even a tenth of a degree change in the temperature of the water they can detect."
Does this mean faster times at UB? Maybe, maybe not. Termin, in his 14th year as the men's head swimming coach, said no studies have been done to see the difference in times from swimming in a chlorine-treated pool to one treated with ultraviolet light.
But along with making the environment more pleasant, the system has economic bonuses, too.
Both systems cost about the same to operate, but since chlorine is a corrosive, maintenance becomes expensive, as do the stainless steel parts that need to be around the pool. The UV system causes less harm to the facility, reducing long-term maintenance costs.
A similar ultraviolet light procedure was used at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and is common throughout Europe, but still relatively new to the United States. The UB pool is the first one in New York State to have the ultraviolet system installed. The $55,000 system was given to the university as a gift-in-kind by Final Filtration of Amherst, Environmental Resources Management of Pittsford and Wedeco/Ideal Horizons, based in Vermont.
Jesuits 2, Vincentians 1
Rivalry week between Canisius and Niagara ended with the Griffs taking the hockey and men's basketball games.
Niagara avoided a sweep last Thursday when its women's basketball team earned a come-from-behind victory over Canisius at the Gallagher Center.
"Just leave it up to the women," said freshman Jessica Kemp, who had a career-high 26 points in the game.
Just how bad can it get losing to your rival?
Ask Niagara men's hockey coach Blaise MacDonald. Disgusted with his team's performance in a 4-3 loss to Canisius at the Amherst Pepsi Center last Tuesday, MacDonald canceled practice for Wednesday.
Only one problem -- that was the practice scheduled for the team photo shoot.
Guess some things are better left forgotten.
Griffs face icy road
Home is where the wins are for Canisius this season, but the Ice Griffs need to earn some points on the road if they want to open the playoffs in Buffalo.
Canisius has already clinched a playoff spot in the MAAC, but the Griffs desperately want home ice advantage for the quarterfinals. They clinch fourth place, the last spot to get a home playoff game, by earning two points on this weekend's road trip. The easiest way would be to win Friday at Sacred Heart, though they'll have another shot at points at Fairfield on Saturday.
Should it clinch fourth, Canisius will host the fifth-place team in the quarterfinals March 10. At their home rinks this season (Amherst Pepsi Center and Buffalo State Arena), the Ice Griffs are 9-1-2. On the road they are just 5-7-2.
Quarterfinal winners advance to the final four in Storrs, Conn. The tournament champion then gets the conference's first-ever automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Meanwhile, on the women's side, Niagara's upset of No. 1 Dartmouth last Friday moved them back into the national polls, tied for 10th with Providence in the USCHO.com poll. It also may give them an ECAC playoff berth after all. With the top eight teams qualifying for the conference tournament, the Purple Eagles are in seventh place with 22 points. Providence is eighth with 21 and Maine is ninth with 19 points.
Niagara (17-13-4, 9-11-4 ECAC) finished its season a week ahead of everybody else, so the Eagles have to play the waiting game this weekend. Still, it looks promising. Providence will likely finish in seventh with a win at Boston College this weekend. Maine is the rub, but they have home games against Harvard and Brown, the second- and fourth-place teams, respectively, in the conference.
Canisius's softball team, which won the MAAC tournament last year and went on to the NCAA tourney, tied for first place in the conference preseason coaches' poll with St. Peter's. The Griffs had four players named to the preseason All-MAAC team: Jill Iacono (first base), Diana Calandra (second base), Amy Dodd (outfield) and Veronica Maher (pitcher), who also garnered preseason player of the year honors. Niagara, picked to finish fifth, placed Jodie Bowers (second base) on the preseason team. . . . New Paltz sophomore Jon Amoia (Williamsville) set a school record with a 59.64 time in the 100-yard breaststroke at the ECAC Open Swimming and Diving Championships last week. He finished third in the event. . . . Buffalo State junior Monica Polka (Youngstown) was named second team All-SUNYAC after leading the Lady Bengals in scoring (11.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.5 rpg).