This weekend, the University of Connecticut honored their swimming and diving team for Senior Night, giving all of their graduating members their final hurrahs in the spotlight. In honoring their 10 seniors, they easily defeated Providence College in a landslide during their exhibition at the Wolff-Zackin Natatorium in Storrs, Connecticut.
Though points were not tallied, UConn proved to be the far superior team, having one of their swimmers place first in every single category. It was domination through and through, as the Huskies posted four sweeps in total, taking over the podium in the 50 yard freestyle, 100 yard butterfly, 100 yard backstroke and 100 yard freestyle races. However, one of the biggest stories of the afternoon was senior Katelyn Walsh, who broke the pool record for the 100 yard breaststroke by four tenths of a second, setting the bar at 1:02.18. In doing so, she not only bested the runner-up in that race by an astronomical 10 seconds, but she also solidified her place in UConn swimming history in her final home race of the season. Thus, she was the star of the weekend, showing her prowess in her best event one final time in Storrs.
Walsh wasn’t the only senior who showed out this weekend. Four other seniors won races against Providence: Linnea Anderson, in the 50 yard freestyle and 100 yard butterfly; Molly Franklin, in the 400 yard individual medley; Anna Mecca, in the 200 yard breaststroke; and Grace Ali, in the 200 yard butterfly. Overall, the veterans showed their dominance and poise in swimming what will ultimately be their last laps in the pool at home.
Another name stood out this weekend: Freshman Claire Ryland won the 100 yard freestyle, leading sophomore Kayla Mendonca and junior Mia Galat in going gold-silver-bronze in the race, in that order. Just one more freshman talent popping up for this young team, giving me more reason to believe that the Huskies have a bright future ahead of them thanks to the underclasswomen, even though they will lose some talent after championship season.
That win was pretty much a tune-up with an eye toward the Big East Championships coming up on Feb. 23 in East Meadow, New York. Everything came easy the whole weekend, and with the sold-out home crowd cheering the Huskies on, there really was no stopping them. After completing their last competition of the season, they look to build on their success from this season by swimming their hearts out in the championships in two weeks.