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Swimming Posts 14 Lifetime Bests at First Chance Meet

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami women’s swimming team put together 14 lifetime bests Saturday at its annual First Chance Meet, its final tune-up before the 2019 ACC Swimming & Diving Championships.

“Today was a lot of fun. The team really brought a great attitude and I think a lot of that was based on all of the training they’ve done all year,” head swimming coach Andy Kershaw said. “They have a lot of confidence built from that training, and that’s what we talked about before the competition – just to have fun and swim faster than they’ve ever swam, because they’ve earned that.”

The Hurricanes enjoyed a pair of NCAA ‘B’ cut times in sophomore Alaina Skellett’s performance in the 100-yard backstroke (53.79) and freshman Zorry Mason’s showing in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:01.26).

Mason’s time was the second-best in school history while sophomore Chandler Sensibaugh, who posted the day’s fastest time in the 200-yard butterfly (2:01.30), moved into fourth place in program history.

One of Miami’s top performers all season long, Mason previously held the third-highest time in the same event but moved into second place Saturday afternoon.

“They’re building back up, they’re stronger than ever and swimming faster than ever in most instances,” Kershaw said. “There was a lot of great execution of the races too, which is another thing that they’ve worked really hard on and were able to put into play today.”

Not to be outdone, freshman standout and Spain native Maria Artigas had the 10th-fastest time in the 100-yard backstroke in UM history, posting a finish of 55.95 in a time trial. Kershaw said he has high hopes for Artigas’ future in both collegiate competition and international competition.

One of the day’s final highlights was delivered by senior Sydney Story, who posted a lifetime best in the 100-yard freestyle in a time of 52.04.

“Sydney has dealt with a lot of injuries throughout the years, and to see her as a senior put all of that behind her and throw out her best time in the 100 free was really exciting,” Kershaw said.

Kershaw emphasized that while Saturday’s success was enjoyable, a strong performance next week at the Greensboro Aquatic Center would be more important than any result at the Whitten University Center Pool.

“At the end of the day, it’s great to give them opportunities to go fast and it’s great that they took advantage of that, but we have to put that up again next week at ACC Championships,” Kershaw said. “That’s one of the keys – to make sure we carry that forward and get some people in the finals and score some points and bring home the highest finish we can get.

“They’re all committed to that and they’re excited about doing it as a group. I can’t wait to see them do it.”