After a road trip and nearly a two-week break, the UConn swimming and diving team will look to make waves against Southern Connecticut State this Saturday at the Wolff-Zackin Natatorium.
The Owls are coming back from over a month-long hiatus and hoping to improve their record. These teams are familiar with each other, as they competed just last year, with the Huskies winning by a score of 157-122. In that meet, SCSU placed first in eight of the 20 events, meaning this meet was closer than the scoreboard reflected.
The Owls are coming into this meet with a 1-1 record, hoping to make a statement by dethroning the 4-0 Huskies. SCSU has had some ups and downs this season, including a 206-86 loss to West Chester University and a 143-131 win over Shippensburg University. On the other side of things, the Huskies come in boasting a perfect record, with wins over Big East opponents. Due to how close meets have been for these teams, there are places where each needs to capitalize on its advantages to win.
The Owls diving team has been their strong point this season, and they did get the better of their Connecticut rival in their previous meeting. In SCSU’s last meet, Nicholle Denault took gold in the 1-meter diving with a score of 197.70 and finished third in the 3-meter diving with a respectable score of 162.08. Denault could prove to be the Huskies’ kryptonite, as she won all the diving events against UConn last season and has not finished worse than second in the 3-meter diving, nor below first in the 1-meter diving.
If the Owls want to upset UConn, they will need to look out for Huskies’ swimmer Niamh Hofland Jr., who was named Big East Female Athlete of the Week and has been nothing short of spectacular. Hofland earned this title with her stellar performance in the Huskies’ first three meets, as she won at least two events each time. During UConn’s season opener, Hofland won the 200 IM and 400 IM with times of 2:06.81 and 4:25.82, respectively. Against Villanova, she stood on top in the 500-meter and 1000-meter freestyle events with a final time of 10:16.28, as well as second in the 200 IM with a time of 2:07.20. Hofland also had a career day against Georgetown, winning the 500 and 1000 free with league-best times of 5:02.21 and 10:13.52, respectively, while tacking on another third-place finish in the 200 IM at 2:08.00.
The meet will start at 12 p.m. Saturday in the Wolff-Zackin Natatorium.