The East Carolina swimming and diving teams will compete in Houston, Texas in the American Athletic Conference Championships yesterday through Saturday, with the men’s team hoping to grab its third-straight title.
Kobe will lead the team for what could be the final time, as he will retire from ECU and coaching after 37 years. This is also the last time the senior swimmers and divers will be competing at the AAC Championships, and Kobe has had to help focus his group.
“I’m not thinking about how this will be the last time I will be coaching the swim team,” Kobe said. “I am thinking about the bigger picture and about the team performing well this upcoming week. After it’s all said and done, I will sit back and then reflect on my experience at ECU.”
Last season the men’s swim team won its second consecutive conference championship in dominant fashion. The Pirates outscored Southern Methodist, who finished in second place, 907-828.5. The year before it came down to ECU and SMU in the final relays but the Pirates outscored their foe, 892.5-858.
“Winning the conference championship my sophomore year was the sweetest since it was my first,” senior Will Hicks said. “We did not go in thinking about winning again, but we were focused and we were able to win conference again.”
There are certain things that every coach looks for when it comes to performing at a high stage, and Kobe expressed what he’s looking for at the championships, which is the same in every meet he is a part of.
“I will be looking for that good energy level,” Kobe said. “I will be looking for that excitement on the team. The past few weeks we had that positive vibe that has helped us prepare for the upcoming meet.”
Coming off the South Carolina Invitational a few weeks back, the team has had the opportunity to focus on just practicing and getting itself ready for the championships. Based on what Kobe has seen in practice he anticipates another impressive performance. He believes they’re once again the team to beat.
“Everyone on the team has to do their job,” Kobe said. “If everyone does their part, the seeding in the end will not matter.”