Swimming and diving compete in Virginia meet

Meaghan Bedigian

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams competed in the H2Okie Fall Invitational Nov. 20-22, hosted by Virginia Tech in Christiansburg, Va. 

The women (4-3, 2-0 Big East) concluded the three-day meet in fourth place out of seven schools, behind Virginia Tech, Alabama and South Carolina, and the men (0-6, 0-2 Big East) finished fifth out of five schools.

Sophomore Emily Mayo received the Big East Swimming and Diving weekly award from the NCAA from her performance in the meet with top-four finishes and an NCAA B-cut time in the 500-yard freestyle. 

Mayo touched the wall in second place in 4:47.56, breaking the NCAA B-cut mark by 23-hundredths of a second, and earned fourth-place in the 200 free (1:49.61) and 1,650 free (16:44.03).

Strong showings were had by freshman Caitlin Daday, who placed second in the 1,650 free at 16:33.67, and senior Katrin Heider, who touched the wall at 50.78 for a fifth-place finish in the A final of the 100 free. In the final event, the 400 freestyle relay, Villanova’s team, made up of senior Sara Jurek, sophomore Jessica Randolph, junior Kaisla Kollanus and Heider, swam a 3:24.55 for a fourth-place finish.

The Wildcat men completed their first 1,650-yard free event of the season. Sophomore Harrison Rodts swam a 16:15.23 for a 12th-place finish. 

The team concluded the meet with a 14th-place finish in the 400 free relay.

A team goal of the season is to send swimmers to the NCAA meet, according to freshman Jake Hoin, and Mayo’s performance at the H2Okie Invitational is a step in the right direction.

“Our women are really good this season,” Hoin said. “They’re going pretty comfortably into the Big East to take the title home.”

The Wildcat women are hoping to defend their Big East title for another year. The men’s team has the bar set to improve on last year’s finish in the Big East Conference, according to Hoin. 

This requires them to finish better than fourth place.

In the long term, the team is committed to finding strong recruits in order to build the program up, especially for the men’s team, according to Hoin. 

“We brought in a really strong freshman class,” Hoin said.

There is a total of 18 freshman recruits this season: 10 women and eight men.

“The eight additional freshmen guys have definitely added to this season,” Hoin said. “Last year we were a team of only 13 guys as a whole, and now we’re at 17, so there’s a lot more scoring possibilities.”

If the team continually brings in a solid freshman class, it hopes to have both the men and the women teams eventually take home Big East titles, according to Hoin. Each team will resume its seasons againwst North Carolina State on Jan. 10 in the Pavilion.

“We’ll be coming off of a hard week of training for this meet after a period of rest,” Hoin said. “We’re working on technique and building up that aerobic base and just getting back into the swing of things, so that by the time NC State comes, we’re ready to put up top times.”

NC State is a force to be reckoned with, ranking eighth in the nation for men and top 25 for women.

“We know they’re going to bring in a lot of great swims,” Hoin said.

With a record of 0-6, the men’s swimming and diving team is looking for any opportunity to improve.

“One of the best ways to grow as a team is to swim up, and NC State provides some tough competition we can gain experience from,” Hoin said. “We’re focused on improving ourselves every step of the way.”