February 12, 2015

UAA Championships underway in Atlanta

Both the Maroon women and men are in Atlanta, GA this week to compete in the long-anticipated four-day UAA Championships hosted by Emory.

The College Swimming Coaches Association of America currently ranks both Maroon squads No. 10 in the nation coming into the meet. Chicago hopes to improve on last year’s championship results, where the men finished second behind Emory, and the women third behind Emory and Wash U.

Action began on Wednesday with the men’s one-meter dive competition, where Maroons gained a significant lead in the standings. 

In the preliminaries, fourth-years Matt Staab and Anthony Restaino placed second and third, respectively. First-year Dean Boures and fourth-year Kevin Steffes both also placed in the top six.

In the final, Austen Blease of NYU came out on top, while Staab took second place, and Restaino took third.

“There are a lot of great divers we compete against, so being able to place third was great,” Restaino said. “A lot of that goes to our coach, Abbey [Bernardo], for preparing us so well for UAAs.”

“I was very happy with Wednesday’s outcome,” Staab said. “I was able to improve on my prelim score in finals and hit almost all of my dives so it’s always exciting to go on an upward trajectory through a meet.”

However, with the men’s three-meter competition to take place on Friday, Staab is not yet satisfied. “Three-meter is my favorite board so I’m hoping to keep the momentum going and finish strong,” he said.

At the end of Wednesday, Chicago was the clear leader in the standings with 104 points, followed by NYU (55). Wash U and Rochester were tied for third (37), followed by Case Western (26) and Brandeis (16).

“I think the team is pretty excited about where we stand after the first day,” Staab said. “It’s definitely shaping up to be a competitive meet and some of our biggest rivals didn’t get any points from diving today so we’re hoping it will give us a nice boost.”

The women’s three-meter dive competition will take place on Thursday, followed by the men’s three-meter on Friday. The women’s one-meter will take place on Saturday.   

As for swimming, competition kicked off for both the men and women on Thursday and will carry on through Saturday.

Despite a wide lead after Wednesday’s competition, the Maroons know how tough the UAA competition is, especially this year. Six of the eight women’s teams are ranked nationally in the top 25, led by Emory at No. 1. Four of those six teams, including Chicago, are in the top 10. 

On the men’s side, five teams are ranked in the top 25, four of which, including Chicago, are in the top 10.

“We just need to take everything one event at a time,” Restaino said. “We were so close to winning last year and we are a much stronger team now. If we think about how hard we prepared we have probably the best chance in memory of knocking Emory off the top of the podium.”