Swim / Dive Splits Tri-Meet with FIU, Illinois

MIAMI – The Miami Hurricanes swimming & diving team split a pair of results over the weekend at FIU, earning a win over Illinois and falling to the host Panthers in a tri-meet at the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Center.

Miami topped the Fighting Illini, 228-217, and fell to FIU, 267-180, in a meet that began Friday and concluded early Saturday afternoon.

“It was great to get a ‘W’ over a Big Ten school, and definitely good mark for the program,” head swimming coach Andy Kershaw said. “Hats off to FIU. They’ve got it rolling for sure, this year. They’re looking good. They certainly gave us a test.”

Sophomore Zorry Mason was among Miami’s top scorers in the two-day event, finishing with a number of impressive times in signature events. Among other impressive times, Mason won the 50-yard breaststroke (28.75) and also won her signature event, the 200-yard IM (2:02.58).

But Kershaw said a deeper dive into Mason’s performances gives a better look at the progress his group has made as a whole.

“I’m pretty happy with our performances, looking internally. I think we’re in a really good place, in terms of talent level and things like that,” Kershaw said. “When I’m looking at our times and comparing them to where we’ve been in the past, looking at what we’ve got ahead, I’m pretty excited.

“Zorry is a perfect example. Her 200 IM this year is two seconds faster than a year ago. Her 100 breast is faster. A lot of really good performances.”

Junior Sydney Knapp, a team captain, is another swimmer that Kershaw pointed to as someone reaping the benefits of hard work in the offseason.

Knapp posted a second-place time of 1:50.75 in the 200-yard freestyle.

“Sydney is another one who really stepped up. She went a lifetime best in the 200 free Friday, which, without a tech suit and in a dual meet in November, is pretty impressive,” he said. “It’s four seconds faster than she was at this weekend last year, and that’s a real credit to her.”

Miami had three of the top-four fastest times in the 500-yard freestyle, with freshman Aino Otava (5:02.44, second), freshman Andrea Todorovic (5:06.81, third) and senior Claire McGinnis (5:07.48, fourth), leading the way.

Otava had the best time in the 1000-yard freestyle (10:30.05) while Mason took the top finish in the 100-yard IM (56.22). Mason won the 100-yard breaststroke Friday (1:03.40) and freshman Isabel Traba (56.34) had the second-best time in the 100-yard butterfly.

On the boards, the Hurricanes were paced by Millie Haffety, who took second in the 1-meter (289.30) and 3-meter (301.25), and the return of Alicia Blagg, who was third in the 1-meter (282.40).

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we have some great things ahead,” Kershaw said. “That midseason invite, going out to Kansas and hopefully we’ll be in the run for a win at that meet, but I know Kansas will be ready to go, just like Iowa State and the other teams that will be out there.

“There was a lot of hard work being done and we’ve put it to them the last couple of weeks and saw a much tougher team today.”