S&D Set for Senior Day Festivities
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — After opening their season with a fourth-place finish at the All-Florida Invite, the University of Miami swimming and diving teams will return to action this weekend in two separate meets.
The men’s diving team will travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for a tri-meet with Alabama and Florida State, while the women’s swimming & diving team will host Florida Gulf Coast on Senior Day at the Norman A. Whitten University Center Pool. Both meets will begin at noon.
Despite entering only their second competitive meet of the season, the Hurricanes have already seen much of what FGCU has to offer. The Eagles, who edged Miami by the slightest margin in last year’s head-to-head meet, finished in third at the recent All-Florida Invite.
“They certainly outperformed us two weeks ago,” Kershaw said. “I told our women that if we want to beat them, we’re going to need to step up and perform better than we did last time out, and they’ll be trying to do the same thing. It’ll be a challenge, but ultimately we need to be focused on what we need to do.”
Kershaw said the past two weeks of training have helped in achieving the team’s ultimate goal – to get better every single meet.
“It’s why we do all the work,” he said. “Ultimately we want race execution, the way they swim, and the team’s discipline to all be spot on. The tough part is they did a great job of that at All-Florida. That makes it hard to do it better, but it’s a testament to their efforts.”
The men’s team will look to continue to build momentum from an impressive start to the campaign. Redshirt junior Sam Dorman, who dazzled this summer at the 2013 AT&T US Diving Championships, alongside senior Zac Nees, competing in his first season for the Hurricanes after redshirting 2012-13, traded top two finishes in the 3-meter and 1-meter events in Gainesville.
Three Hurricanes will be honored Saturday as part of Senior Day festivities at the women’s dual meet: swimmers Katherine Nicholson and Susan Smiddy, as well as diver Lindsay Lester.
Nicholson, who was selected team captain prior to the season, has played a pivotal role for the Hurricanes in the early going. Kershaw has relied on the leadership of the Charlottesville, Va., native in his first year at the helm of a Miami swimming program on the rise.
“Katherine has been a rock. Coming in, I had no idea what I was going to get – especially the approach our women would take towards a new coach,” Kershaw said. “This is for the seniors – it’s their swan song, it’s their last year. They have been great. I really value their last year, and I want them to enjoy it.”
Kershaw said the perspective of leaders like Nicholson and Smiddy, as well as the veteran leadership of the divers, has been crucial in settling in.
“They get it. It’s not just swimming or diving – there is also academics, there is college life beyond it that make this experience worthwhile,” Kershaw said. “Having that balance is crucial. They want to swim fast, but not at the expense of academics or at the expense of their total experience.”
Coming off her first career All-America recognition in 2012-13, Lindsay Lester will look to mark her final campaign under Coach Ableman with similar results. Lester finished the 3-meter event in eighth place at the 2013 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships en route to All-America honors, while her 14th-place showing in the platform event garnered additional Honorable Mention All-America recognition.
“It’s a college dual meet – the bread and butter of college swimming,” head swimming coach Andy Kershaw said. “Two teams squaring off against each other, race-to-race, putting our best against their best as it stands tomorrow. That’s an exciting challenge.”