The University of Chicago swim and dive team will take part in its first action this weekend at Northwestern. The Maroons will face off against two other DI teams—the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the University of Illinois—in addition to the Wildcats. The South Siders beat DI foe UW–Milwaukee last season.
Fourth-year diver Anna Girlich leads the team into this season, as she has been a threat in NCAAs as well as been named the UAA Women’s Diver of the Year. Girlich spoke of last year’s impact on this season, “Last year, everyone came into the season really ready to compete, and even though we didn’t finish the season as well as we wanted to, there were some very promising performances that we are looking to build upon throughout this whole season. Additionally, we have a few people who are coming back from injuries last year, so having them fully healthy should really ignite the team!”
Girlich also spoke of the leadership dynamic this year, saying, “Our captains [fourth-years Simone Stover, Hannah Eastman, Keenan Novis, Michael Lemay] have done a great job so far. They have been working so hard and leading by example, so we are all really excited to follow their lead. The freshmen on the team have provided a much needed spark. There is a lot of talent in our freshman class, so they are only going to make us better than last year which is exciting!”
Last year, Northwestern’s women’s squad went 6–5 on the year and beat the Maroons 188–100 in their lone matchup. On the men’s side, the Wildcats went 4–9 overall and 0–4 in the Big 10 last season. The UChicago men had a closer match with Northwestern, losing 158.5–110.5. UIC’s women’s squad is already 0–1 on the year, but had an impressive 8–4 record last year. They barely beat the Maroons, 154–141. The UIC men are also 0–1 and went 5–5 last year. The UIC Flames beat the men 155–140. Finally, the University of Illinois women enter the weekend 3–1 overall but only won one match last year. Illinois does not have a men’s team.
Girlich said of the opening meet, “Our first meet is always a good time to see where the rest of our season is going to go. It being against a few DI teams is definitely a challenge, but usually makes everyone compete even harder. We are not too worried about how we stack up next to our opponents on Friday, but instead that we put down some decent times/dives, and see areas that we can grow.”
The squads will kick off competition in Evanston at 5 p.m.