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Swimming to Face Off Against National Powers

DALLAS — Coming off an impressive dual meet opener against FGCU, the Miami Hurricanes will be one of six teams competing in the SMU Classic this weekend at the Perkins Natatorium.

Miami will join Indiana, Louisville, North Carolina, USC and host SMU in the prestigious tournament, which annually features many of the nation’s top programs.

Four of the teams competing were ranked in the final 2013 CSCAA rankings, and all six finished among the top 25 performers at the 2013 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships.

“It’s important that we square off against as many teams that will be in the NCAA Championships as possible,” head coach Andy Kershaw said. “I want our swimmers to go to the blocks at the end of the year and have confidence in the fact they have competed against the best throughout the season.”

After a strong showing in its dual meet with the Eagles last weekend, Kershaw said his group has trained well in preparation for the Classic, which features a structured scoring system.

“Practice has been going great,” he said. “It’s been a good week of training. With our last meet and then having to travel, it’s important we got in some training throughout the week. Now we’re looking forward to another opportunity to reach one of our goals – to get better every meet.”

Every team can bring a maximum of eight swimmers to the two-day tournament, and each may compete in three events per day – but one of those events must be a relay. The consolation heats will be swum before the championship rounds, and the lanes will rotate after each event.

“I think it’s an attribute to our whole team that we’re going to this meet, despite only being able to bring eight swimmers,” Kershaw said. “It’s a result of the entire team’s efforts that we were invited.”

The meet will have personal implications for Kershaw, who spent 10 years working on the Mustangs staff before joining the Hurricanes as head swimming coach this past summer.

“There are obviously a lot of people I am excited to see, but I’m even more excited to be going back as a Hurricane, in orange and green,” Kershaw said. “I’ll be wearing the U on my chest, and that’s going to be fun.”

Opening ceremonies will commence Friday at 7:15 p.m. ET, while the meet will start both days at 7:30 p.m. ET.