Swimming and Diving: The Huskies strap up for a packed weekend

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After a restful winter break, the UConn swimming and diving team will have their hands full this weekend. On Friday, they’ll travel to Kingston, Rhode Island to face the University of Rhode Island at 1 p.m., followed on Saturday by a quick 4-hour road trip to South Orange, New Jersey to take on Seton Hall University.

As a refresher, in UConn’s last meet, they defeated Southern Connecticut State University at home, the Wolff-Zackin Natatorium in Storrs, 157-122. Freshmen Maggie Donlevy and Amelia Schafer were the stars of the last meet, carrying the Huskies through the event with their impressive placings, both on relay teams and as individuals. Notably, Donlevy placed first in the 200-yard freestyle and second in the 100-yard breaststroke, while Schafer took first in the aforementioned 100-yard breaststroke, as well as the endurance test that is the 1000-yard freestyle.

As we pass the halfway point in the season, it should be noted that UConn has swum well overall. Boasting a 4-2 overall record, the Huskies have split their Big East meets thus far, going 1-1, and have had some highs. The best of the best this year would be the Bucknell University Invitational, where the UConn women placed third amongst six competitors with 1,266.5 points, only behind Bucknell and upstart Towson. In this meet, their underclassmen, namely sophomore Kayla Mendonca, sophomore Niamh Hofland and Donlevy won UConn their spot on the podium. They hope to continue their success as the season continues.

Now, for their weekend opponents: First, the Rhode Island Rams have been dominant this season, holding a 5-0 overall record, having yet to face off against other teams within their Atlantic 10 Conference. Among the impressive wins they’ve collected, two of the most eye-popping are absolute drubbings of Springfield College and the Coast Guard Academy back on Oct. 23, where in the span of one afternoon they defeated both by scores of 235-62 and 220-80, respectively. Their most recent meet was the Harold Anderson Invitational, which they hosted and won, tying with the University of Vermont with 789 points over an entire weekend. These women may be the best test of the Huskies yet this season. Let’s hope they rise to the challenge they are presented with.

Now we come to Seton Hall. The Pirates come in a little weaker than the Rams: Thus far, they’ve gone 2-2 on the season, not yet having had any Big East play. They’ve had a bit of an up-and-down season, holding a win-loss-win-loss pattern through four meets. Their most recent competition was at the Patriot Invite, where they placed fourth, behind the University of Delaware, Florida Atlantic University and Drexel University; and ahead of George Mason University, the University of Richmond and American University. The Huskies hope to win this meet, as a victory over their Big East foe will give them a winning record versus conference opponents on the season.

As we enter the second half of the swimming and diving season, UConn looks to maintain some consistency and prep for the Big East championships that are coming in a little over a month. A win or two this weekend would do wonders for this team’s confidence, and after a restful month-long break, we may very well see it soar.

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