For the first time in nearly three months, UConn’s swimming and diving team has lost a meet, falling 158-142 to the UNH Wildcats in Durham, New Hampshire last Friday. After a lengthy period of good swimming, the Huskies’ streak of dominance had come to an end.
Just for reference, the last time UConn lost a meet was to the Yale Bulldogs, who, for lack of softer words, thrashed the Huskies in a 192-81 blowout. That meet was never close and the Huskies took it to heart that they needed to step up. They followed that disaster with a podium finish at the Bucknell University Invitational and three straight wins against the SCSU Owls, the URI Rams and the Seton Hall Pirates. To put that in perspective, they got bronze at a seven-team tourney and won a meet before winter break, and continued to win two more meets after the break before they lost again. Before we talk about this meet, it’s important to remember that UConn has been very good through the majority of the season.
Now, for the meet: it was truly a back-and-forth battle. Though UConn fell behind early, they rallied and fought through the afternoon. When they didn’t get first place in one event, they gave it their all and would make back those points in the next one. Eventually, however, they fell too far behind to win the meet.
Regardless of the final score, the Huskies exhibited several notable performances. Sophomore Kayla Mendonca, junior Caitlin Spencer and senior Catherine Fazio finished first, second and third respectively in the 100-yard backstroke, making for UConn’s first sweep of the day. Senior Katelyn Walsh followed that sweep with another huge win in the 100-yard breaststroke, giving the team some much-needed momentum.
However, I think the shining star of the Huskies during this meet was the diving team. Sophomore Analaura Faoro, freshman Julia Pioso and senior Marina Wilkins went 1-2-3 in the 1-meter dive. If that wasn’t enough, Faoro, sophomore Elizabeth Katz and Pioso brought the Huskies another sweep in the 3-meter dive. Their supremacy was the main reason UConn managed to remain competitive, and they deserve credit for a great weekend.
Though it was an unfortunate ending for UConn, the Huskies still have one more meet left in their regular season. They’ll be looking to use it as a quick turnaround heading into the tournament season, facing off against Providence College on Saturday, Feb. 5th at 12 p.m. Hopefully being at home in the Wolff-Zackin Natatorium in Storrs will be the jolt the team needs to get back on track before a playoff push.