This week the UChicago swimming and diving team is competing in one of the most important meets of their season. The Maroons are in the midst of hosting the UAA Championships, which began on Wednesday and will conclude on Saturday. During the meet, the South Siders will take on Brandeis, Carnegie Melon, Case, Emory, NYU, Rochester, and Wash U.
UChicago has not hosted the UAA Championships since 2013, and having the opportunity to compete at home is a source of great excitement for the team. “Being able to host UAAs this year is really exciting because we get to race at the pool we practice in every single day,” said fourth-year captain Maya Scheidl. “Knowing that takes off some of the stress for the races,” she continued.
In addition to the familiar territory, the Maroons are also entering this meet with an overall successful season under their belts. The introduction of a strong first-year class, as well as the return of many seasoned veterans, have proven to be a potent combination. Some highlights include the team’s victory over Boston College in September — which was the program’s first victory over a Division I team — as well as the Phoenix Fall Classic in November, which included several record-breaking and NCAA B-Cut performances.
Although the South Siders have entered this week’s championship meet with a very strong team, it will likely be one of many nail-biting close finishes. Although Emory is all but guaranteed to win the meet, as they have won the UAA Championship every year for the past 19 years, the fight for second and third will be a fierce one indeed. At last year’s championship meet, the men finished fourth behind NYU by only 8.5 points, and the women finished third behind Wash U by only 10.5 points.
Despite the high stakes, the Maroons are approaching this weekend with excitement and confidence. “Overall, as a team, we are striving to place as high as we can in our conference, swim some season bests, and have as many people on the team make it back to swim or dive at finals every day,” said Scheidl.
Scheidl’s co-captain, fourth-year Cara LoPiano, echoed her teammate’s sentiments. “I think as a team we're feeling great,” she said. “We’ve put in a lot of work this season and we feel excited to see what great things we can accomplish.”
UChicago has already gotten off to a solid start after the two days of the meet. On Wednesday night, third-year Dean Boures got the ball rolling with a fifth-place finish in the men’s one-meter dive. On Thursday morning, several Maroons qualified to compete in that evening’s finals session. They will look to build upon these successes throughout the rest of the meet.
Diving and swimming events began on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, at the Myers-McLoraine Pool here at the University of Chicago. Both will continue through Saturday, February 11. Swimming prelims sessions will begin at 10:00 a.m., followed by diving at 12:45. Finals sessions will begin at 5:30 p.m.