Enter the basement of kinesiology. It's a land populated by windowless concrete weight rooms, a sunless land where Dinos roam, their muscles rippling under form-hugging spandex as they lift rep upon rep to the tune of banging weights and loud rock music.
This is an underground land few non-varsity university students will enter in their four or often five years, but it is a second home to Dino athletes.
Alas, Dinos have a five-year varsity life span, and for seven fifth-year University of Calgary swimmers their hours in this secret land are drawing to a close.
The retiring Dinos are: men's team Captain Richard Cormack and swimmers Dennis Alisic, Cam Hyder and Jon Schjott. On the women's side, Emma Spooner, Kristen Lys and Deena Durand will be hanging up their varsity towels.
Women's team vet Spooner's days as a Dino are ending, but her swimming days are far from over. She is currently training for the 2005 Summer Universiade in Izmir, Turkey Aug. 11-21, and has her sights set on the Commonwealth Games trials in November.
Fifth-year teammates Cormack and Durand also qualified for the Summer Universiade.
"It's kind of sad--CI's are my favorite event of the year," said Spooner of the CIS swimming championships.
But, Spooner has a backup plan to prolong her time with the Dinos.
"I'm gonna scam my way into being a manager next year," she admitted with a smile.
Cormack is what you might call a Super-Dino; he is finishing an honours degree in Biochemistry and applied to medical school for the fall. His med-school application will determine whether he plans to continue swimming competitively next year.
When asked how he balances a challenging degree like bio-chem, and captains a swim team, Cormack took a break from endless sets of incline flys to impart some words of wisdom to young Dinos everywhere.
"It's tough, but it's time management--you have to be able to balance school and athletics," said Cormack.
Both Cormack and Schjott name their team's Canada West Championship in 2003 as their Dinos career highlight. The win was doubly sweet as it was hosted on the Dinos turf.
Schjott, who Head Coach Mike Bondal describes as "the funny guy" on the team, also has some words of wisdom for baby Dinos.
"Work hard, have fun, and don't take yourself too seriously," said Schjott as his coach teased him for being a nice, datable guy.
Bondal will miss the leadership skills and dedication of his retiring Dinos, but has high hopes for his new recruits.
"Our team will be weaker in experience, but we've got a lot of good recruits--for the women's team especially," commented Bondal.
Bondal says that his Dinos can be spotted during the summer months as they continue to roam the basement and put in laps at the pool.
The Dinos swim team is training for the World Championship Trials May 10 in Montreal, and the Summer Universiade in August.