Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass swimming and diving looks to keep ball rolling against Fordham

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Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Collegian

Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Collegian

With just one regular season meet remaining for the University of Massachusetts swimming and diving team, coaches and players look to continue what has been an all-around productive season.

Just as they do nearly every season, men’s swimming approaches the Atlantic 10 Championships with sights set on another title. For the women’s swimmers, a very successful season needs to be capped off strongly for a chance at the conference championship. And for the divers, incoming talent paired with veteran leadership has paved the way for a postseason run.

All three of these paths collide this weekend when the entirety of UMass swim and dive travels to the Bronx to take on their A-10 rival, Fordham, on Saturday.

A standard 16-event dual meet, the action begins with the 200m medley relay, the 1000m free, the 200m free, 100m backstroke, 100m breaststroke, 200m butterfly and the 50m free, followed by the first of two diving events, the one-meter dive. Five more events ensue, including the 200m backstroke, the 200m breaststroke and the 500m free, which are followed by the three-meter dive. The meet concludes with the 200m individual medley, and the 200m freestyle relay.

The women’s swimmers’ success is encouraging to Minutewomen coach Bob Newcomb, but he knows they must end the season strongly in the three weeks leading up the A-10 Championships. All 11 women’s teams in the conference will compete, as well as all eight of the men’s teams.

“It’s very important to end the season on a positive note, and get the rest we need going into the Atlantic 10 Championships,” Newcomb said.

The men’s and women’s swimmers both fell short this past weekend at the Dartmouth Invitational, but still had impressive finishes. The men won six events while the women won four in a strong performance for the school. The men lost by just 18 points.

For the men, junior star Oliver Wyeth took both the 100 back and the 200 back, while also swimming a leg in his team’s 400 free relay victory.

The freshman men had a great performance. Al Madden won the 100 breast and came in second in the 200 breast, while Ryan Pedrick won the 100 free. The men also won the 200 free relay, swam by Owen Wright, Kellen Gray, Kyle Stefanides, and Pedrick.

For the women, senior Meriza Werenski won the 400m individual medley, sophomore Rachel Grant won the 100m fly and freshman Meghan Gray won the 200m back. Divers Emma Roush, Katie Polk and Maja Boric finished first, second and third, respectively, in the three-meter dive. Newcomb had high praises for Werenski, a defending A-10 Champion.

“She’s so hardworking, a great teammate…really a genuine individual with incredible talent…she’s had a great career here,” he said.

Since returning from the six-week winter recess, both the men and women’s swim teams have had busy schedules. The men had two meets in their second week back, while the women had four days of competition in an eight-day period.

Despite the long rest period, followed by a swift return to a vigorous schedule, Newcomb has noticed a sense of urgency among swimmers since their return to school.

“They’ve done a great job throughout the month of January,” Newcomb said. “We had something that is very tough, which is essentially four days of competition in an eight day span. Our swimmers did an excellent job with that.”

All three groups will have a week off before going to Storrs, CT for the UConn Invitational on Feb. 4 for the regular season finale. The Atlantic 10 Championships follow 11 days later, Feb. 15 through the 18 in Geneva, Ohio.

Henry Brechter can be reached at [email protected]

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