The Hoosac Valley swim team will get one last chance to participate as a team Saturday when it travels to Great Barrington for the Berkshire County individuals.
The meet serves as a final time to get all teams together before Western Massachusetts and state competitions begin. It also give swimmers who may be on the edge of qualifying a final chance to make it to Western Mass.
"It's all individual races, so you just try to improve your time," Hoosac's Keith Pero said. "But, you're still a team and you get to cheer them on one more time."
All nine teams that compete in Berkshire County -- including Mount Anthony and New Lebanon -- will be at Bard College at Simon's Rock for the event. Swimmers will begin warm ups around 10 a.m. with the first race set to kick off about noon.
The races will be set up in heats, giving swimmers a chance to compete against others who have swam similar times this season.
"Everybody goes to this meet, so it's all the people from each team that you know you can swim against and that are close to you," Maria Mazzu said. "You can push yourself to get that one last best time. I know that's what I am going for. Just to get one last best time this year."
The way the meet is structured it allows swimmers that may not have experienced a victory this season to earn one. All of the events will be run in heats based off times gathered from the season. Swimmers with top times will swim against each other, while slower times will be pinned against each other.
With all nine teams competing, it gives the members of those teams a chance to get to know each other, as well. Many of the county's swimmers already participate on club or out-of-season teams together.
"It's tons of fun," Allison Tremblay said. "It's also an opportunity for kids who don't normally win races or place high to do that. I remember my first win I ever got was at individuals."
Competing against swimmers with similar times can help spur swimmers on.
"They can all swim against people at their own speed," Hoosac coach Eryn Brewer said. "All the heats match up to your own time, so it's not like you are watching another person 10 or 15 feet in front of you that you can't catch. You actually have that competition with people who are right next to you that you can actually try to beat. It's beneficial for everyone."
It's not just the swimmers attempting to qualify that the meet can benefit. Swimmers that have already met the Western Mass. or state qualifying times can get one practice meet under their belts before Western Mass. on Feb. 8.
The individual meets are structured much different than a regular season dual meet. There are fewer swimmers at a dual meet, meaning swimmers' events are closer together. At an individual style meet, several heats of the same event take place.
"They haven't done a meet like this all season," Brewer said. "So they're getting ready for [Western Mass.]. This allows them to get their feet wet with this kind of meet and is part of the process of getting ready for the bigger meets that are coming after this."
While some swimmers are preparing themselves for bigger competition, others are looking to make one last bid at qualifying.
Pero has found himself just seconds away from qualifying and is hoping the work he's been putting in these last few weeks will pay off.
"My dives and turns," Pero said of what he's been working on. "It's hard because that makes up time. Your flip turn, if you go slow can really hurt you. If you go quick it can really be an edge. That's what I need to focus on."