Classes end on Dec. 12 for a majority of Missouri State students, and while many go home, some students stick around Springfield over the break. And some of those students make up the Missouri State swimming and diving team.

The Missouri State swimming and diving team has two meets over winter break against Drury and in-conference foe Evansville. Both of which are held at the Hammons Student Center pool.

The Bears have performed well this season and hope to continue that success into their next two meets.

“I’m really optimistic about the team’s performance heading into the midseason meet,” senior freestyle swimmer Antonio Thomas said. “We’ll be back in our home pool, so I’m hoping we can claim some pool records and best times in a competitive meet.”

Thomas is coming off an impressive performance in his most previous meet at Southern Methodist University. 

Thomas earned first in the 1,650-yard freestyle and second in the 500-yard freestyle with times of 15:08.55 and 4:23.39, respectively, earning him Mid-American Conference swimmer of the week. 

“Being able to lead the team off with a win in the 1,650-free was great because it helped establish a positive energy at the beginning of the third session,” Thomas said. “I was really happy with that time.” 

Thomas broke Hammons Student Center Pool records with his times in the 1650 and 500, but since they were at SMU they do not count towards Hammons Student Center pool records.

 If Thomas repeats or improves his times at any of the meets over the break, he’ll have his name in the record books.

Junior diver Dayana Popa also said she hopes to perform well in the two meets over winter break, especially against Evansville.

“For the conference meet, I definitely want to final on both boards as well as keep the momentum and energy up for my teammates,” Popa said.

Even though these athletes have competitions over winter break they are still allowed time to visit family and friends. 

“We give the athletes about 10 days off,” Collins said. “We’ll regroup before the new year hits and head to Orlando, Florida for training camp. It’s a great bonding experience for the athletes before spring semester begins.”

The break also allows for different types of practices, being that there are no classes.

“As we enter the holiday break and school is out of session, it allows us to do different things for practice because we don’t have to take into account class schedules,” Collins said. “The flexibility on time allows us a block of important training.”

The Bears will face Drury University on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 2 p.m. and Evansville on  Saturday, Jan. 11, at 2 p.m.