UMass Swim and Dive will face off against BU for second straight home meet

Minutemen’s last meet before first invitational of season

Nina+Walat

Nina Walat

By Joseph Aliberti, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts swim and dive teams will stay at home again this week as they suit up this Saturday to face off against Boston University (men 1-2, women 0-3).

The Minutemen (3-1) are coming off of a 191-101 win over NJIT, their third win of the year and second in a row. The Minutewomen (3-1) are coming off a bye week, but had a 200-100 win over Vermont the week before, which was their third win on the season and second straight.

“BU has got some great swimmers,” men’s coach Russ Yarworth said. “They’re a solid team top to bottom, so we’re going to have to come in with our best lineup and swim a good team. They’re also well coached, very well coached.”

BU’s men’s team (1-2) picked up its first win last Saturday against Fordham after opening the season with two losses. Despite the slow start to the season, the Terriers boast both top talent.

“They got freshman [Sarsen] Whatmore,” said Yarworth. “They got Stuart [Vickery], he’ll give Casey [Ransford] and Jamie [MacDonald] everything they can handle.”

Whatmore, a freshman from Sarasota, Florida, has four first place finishes on the year, two coming in the 500-yard freestyle, one in the 1000-yard freestyle and another in the 200-yard freestyle. Vickery has three wins, two coming in the 200-yard butterfly, while the other is from the 100-yard butterfly.

Coming off of a 189-111 loss against BU last year, the Minutemen are looking to redeem themselves.

“This is a meet we’ve been pointing to since last year. BU spanked us pretty good,” said Yarworth. “They were much more prepared than us last year at this time. So, this year, we’re coming in, the kids are focused. They know what they got coming.”

Both coaches are very pleased with the progress of the teams from when they started practicing at the beginning of the season.

“This morning we did a very similar workout to what we did four weeks ago on the last recovery week,” said Yarworth. “And I’d say across the board the speed was as good or better, but also the ability to maintain pace through the length of the set tells me that the conditioning base and the speed, and the ability to maintain speed has improved in just a month.”

“I’m seeing a lot of changes in stroke,” said women’s coach Bob Newcomb. “I’m seeing people trying different things in racing. They’re doing all the things we’ve been asking them to do.”

The Minutewomen are coming off of a bye week, which could be both mentally advantageous while also being a physical burden.

“Mentally, I think [the bye week] was absolutely perfect. Physically, they’re always a little sore when they come back, and it’s not from doing too much, it’s from not doing anything,” said Newcomb. “We’re going to be fine, I don’t think the bye week is going to affect us one way or another, but mentally it was perfect.”

The Lady Terriers are 0-3 to start the season, falling to Fordham, Bucknell and Lehigh. Although UMass looks like the stronger team with a 3-1 record, it can be argued that BU isn’t as bad as the record says they are.

“They’re a very talented team, with a lot of good frontline kids, but they’re not as deep as they have been in years past,” said Newcomb. “I think we can beat them by coming at them over and over again.”

The UMass men and women are going to be competing at the same time again, something they haven’t done in three weeks, and something that is not the same as just one-gender meets.

“It’s a different environment,” said Newcomb. “There’s a lot more noise, a lot more people. It’s a good thing because they have a little more time to recover, and I think it’s going to be a really good crowd since both teams are there.”

The Minutemen and Minutewomen will be competing at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2 at the Joseph R. Rogers Jr. Pool.

 Joseph Aliberti can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @JosephAliberti.