UMass swimming and diving hunting for hardware in Atlantic 10 championships

By Tyler Fiedler

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)
(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams are looking to collect some new hardware with Atlantic 10 championships set to begin.

The men’s team had another strong season, winning four meets and placing second out of five teams in the Terrier Invitational in November. The depth of the Minutemen has been evident this year with a wide variety of upperclassmen and underclassmen contributing to its success this season.

“I’m excited to watch my boys swim,” UMass coach Russ Yarworth said. “They have followed the process, worked hard and they deserve the chance to compete for a championship.”

Senior Michael Glenn and freshman Owen Wright have been at the brunt of the Minutemen’s success with strong performances throughout the season in a number of different events. Wright was recently awarded A-10 Rookie of the Week with victories in three freestyle events – 50-yard, 100-yard and 200-yard – in a UMass win over Fordham Jan. 31.

Glenn earned his second A-10 Performer of the Week honor three weeks ago with his outstanding performance at the Dartmouth Invitational in which he finished first in two breaststroke events and second in the 400-yard individual medley.

The Minutemen are going to need these two swimmers as well as a consistent effort from the rest of the roster to dethrone two-time defending A-10 champion St. Bonaventure, which returns 18 swimmers from last year’s championship team. The Bonnies had another strong season, winning five meets.

UMass will need to perform at its highest level if it wants to return to championship level following a two-year drought. Of the last 14 A-10 championships, the Minutemen have captured 11 titles while the Bonnies took home the championship the other three times.

“The goal is to win and that is always the goal,” Yarworth said. “My expectation for them is to work as hard as they can to win the championship.”

Aside from the Bonnies, the Minutemen will face tough competition from La Salle and Saint Louis.

“We need the individual performers to step up,” Yarworth said. “Everyone has to score, work hard and believe in what we can do.”

Women look to regain glory

It has been 14 years since the UMass women’s swimming and diving team captured its last A-10 championship.

Since the Minutewomen’s last title in 2001, Richmond has formed a dynasty, winning all ensuing championships with the exception of the 2009-2010 season in which Fordham prevailed. The Spiders head to Ohio with another deep, strong team looking to repeat for a fifth consecutive time.

But UMass comes into the A-10 championships with hopes of pulling an upset behind a slew of outstanding individual performances this season.

Meriza Werenski had an exceptional season, leading UMass in the 200-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard and 400-yard individual medley. Seniors Katie Arnott and Zoe Judd also had strong performances in their respective final seasons.

The four-day conference championship begins Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.

Tyler Fiedler can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Tyler_Fiedler.