This past Thursday at Wolff-Zackin Natatorium in Storrs, Connecticut, the UConn swimming and diving team got their feet wet in their season opener. The meeting was between Connecticut and in-state rivals Southern Connecticut State, a squad that already participated in four meets, yet has only a single win to their name.
The teams fought it out and UConn ultimately came out on top, though the score is listed as 163-90 by the Huskies and 163-114 by the Owls.
“Always good to get a home victory, for the girls to shed their skin a bit and enjoy the process,” head coach Chris Maiello noted after the dual meet. “This is what we do and why we do it…just excited overall about our ability to continue to train. We have some things to clean up in our races strategy-wise and things like that, but for the most part [we’re] pretty happy with where we’re at.”
Connecticut began their strong outing in the 200-yard medley relay, with Huskies teams coming in the top three and establishing an early 15-2 advantage. The Huskies kept pouring it on in the 1,000-yard freestyle as Norah Rome narrowly took gold and Bridget Davis grabbed bronze, while SCSU’s Jasmine Uricchio missed the top spot by a mere two seconds.
The 200-yard freestyle was no kinder to the Owls. Meghan Byrne, Claire Lippert and Niamh Hofland all finished within a tick of one another to secure a full-Husky podium, leaving SCSU even further in the dust. Another podium sweep in the 100-yard breaststroke and three of the top four slots in the 100-yard backstroke ensured the Huskies remained comfortable.
The 200-yard butterfly and the 50-yard freestyle kept the upper hand on the home side, with UConn grabbing each of the top two slots. It wasn’t until Nicholle Denault concluded her 1-meter dive that the Owls grabbed gold in anything. Top three sweeps in both the 200-yard backstroke and the 100-yard freestyle was just what the doctor ordered to help the Huskies bounce back in a big way.
Third, fourth and fifth place finishes for the Owls combined for six points in the 200-yard backstroke, but this didn’t compare to the 13 points Huskies Kiera Liesinger and Emma May tallied for finishing the race on top.
The 500-yard freestyle proved to be SCSU’s bread and butter, as they brought out the brooms for a top three sweep. The 100-yard butterfly, the 400-yard freestyle relay and the 400-yard individual medley were more of the same as the Owls began to rack up points.
It was a mere consolation though as the Huskies wrapped up with a strong 3-meter dive and secured the victory.
Connecticut won’t get much of a break, suiting up again this Friday for a home series against Big East foes Georgetown and Villanova.