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Hurricanes Open Season Friday at All-Florida Invite

Hurricanes Open Season Friday at All-Florida Invite

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Miami swimming & diving team opens its 2017-18 season Friday at the eighth annual All-Florida Invitational hosted by the University of Florida.

The Hurricanes are one of just three teams competing in the field this year at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, joining the host Gators and ACC rival Florida State.

Miami is looking to build off its impressive performance at last year’s All-Florida Invite, where it finished second with 744 points.

But for head coach Andy Kershaw, who brought his team up to Gainesville on Monday in preparation for the meet and with no classes due to Hurricane Irma, this weekend’s competition is just as much about getting back to training as it is about the races themselves.

“We’re really a lot more focused on the discipline of the races and how they’re performing the races, even more so now,” Kershaw said. “We’ll learn things from that and take them forward, see what we need to adjust and how we can be a little better as we move deeper into our season.”

Despite the adverse conditions, Kershaw said he was proud of the way his group has handled the situation.

“It has been tremendous. They stayed disciplined with their training while they were in different places and it was great to get back together and training as a team,” he said.  “It has been a tremendous team atmosphere up here, a lot of energy, and we’re looking forward to carrying that into the meet.”

As it is each and every season, All-Florida provides Kershaw with an early look at how his team will perform against top competition.

“We’re looking forward to going against Florida and Florida State – it’s certainly great competition,” he said. “One of the other big things for me, I just can’t wait to see this team get a chance to go into battle, so to speak, together as a team.”

Despite the addition of eight newcomers, including seven new swimmers, Kershaw said he is confident in the way the veterans have helped prepare the freshmen for their first collegiate competition.

“Half of our team is comprised of freshmen, so there’s been a lot of learning going on,” he said. “I’m really proud of our upperclassmen and how they’ve been leading that charge. I can’t wait to see that continue. I know they’re all really looking forward to the energy of the competition.”

The meet kicks off on Friday at 10 a.m. with the women’s 200 freestyle relay. Friday’s finals session is set for 7 p.m.