Aug 23, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. – Three home events along with a major tri-dual meet at Notre Dame to kick off the month of October highlight the 2012-13 Auburn swimming and diving schedule released Friday by head coach Brett Hawke.
The men’s team will face three teams in dual meets that finished in the top-25 of the NCAA Championships last season, while the women will face four top-25 teams. One of the big highlights of those three teams on the men’s side is defending champion, Michigan, which will be taking part in the tri-meet at Notre Dame.
Much like the men’s side, the women’s ranked dual opponents will come in the form of Indiana and Notre Dame in early October, followed by Texas and Florida in January.
“We’re on the road a lot, which is challenging,” Hawke said. “However, I think this sets our athletes up well for the end of the year when they have to compete at the SEC Championships and NCAA Championships. We’re really trying to get them used to performing on the road. We’re certainly excited about seeing Notre Dame and Michigan at the start of the year for the men and then also for the women to face Indiana and Notre Dame as well. It’s good to get out of conference and get different looks.”
The Tigers first date of competition will be when the women get their first taste of an SEC foe against Vanderbilt on Sept. 27 starting at 4 p.m. in Nashville, Tenn.
The schedule ramps up when the calendar turns to October as both the men and women travel to Notre Dame for their respective tri-dual meets on Oct. 11 and 12. The men going up against the Irish and defending national champion, Michigan, while the women will face Notre Dame and the Hoosiers from Indiana. All three women’s teams finished inside the top-20 at last year’s NCAA Championships.
The Tigers will then go back on the road to face Queens University in Charlotte, N.C. on Oct. 25, followed by a men’s team only dual against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., on Nov. 2.
Auburn will finally host its first home meet of the year at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center as they will be taking part in the Auburn Invitational, one of the biggest meets of the year. Competition is scheduled to run from Nov. 22-24 just before the Thanksgiving holiday.
“For us, we haven’t had a big invitational at home in a while, so this will be a first for us,” Hawke said. “We’ll be inviting Georgia, Florida State and Alabama in and really compete against some top teams, including Georgia, which is the defending national champions on the women’s side. Every meet is testing our athletes and seeing where they are as a team.”
As 2013 hits its final month, AU will compete at Winter Nationals with the swimming portion occurring in Knoxville, Tenn., from Dec. 5-8. The diving team will have its own Winter Nationals in Austin, Texas on Dec. 17-22. Some divers not at Winter Nationals will compete at the Tuscaloosa Diving Invite in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Dec. 16-18.
The diving team will kick off the new year at the Athens Diving Invite, which runs from Jan. 3-5 in Athens, Ga., and the swim team’s first action of the new month is another big dual against Texas in Austin on Jan. 9. Both the Longhorn men’s and women’s teams finished in the top-10 at last year’s NCAA Championships.
Both men and women will have a few weeks of preparation after the Texas matchup before closing out the regular season with duals against Florida in Gainesville on Jan. 25 and hosting Senior Day against South Carolina on Feb. 1 in the James E. Martin Aquatic Center.
“It’s good to come out of Christmas training with meets against Texas and Florida,” Hawke said. “We’re really looking at this fall as getting some good training and preparation for the championship season.”
Associate head coach John Hargis also added how important it is to face tough competition early and often during the season to really prep for what is to come during championship season.
“Our biggest thing is going to be developing our youth so they can provide for us at the championship level,” Hargis said. “From a coaching standpoint, it’s about developing the athletes to be prepared and be ready for the end of the year. When you look at the schedule and how it’s set up, we’re putting our athletes in positions to compete against the best numerous times. At the end of the year when we get to the NCAA meet, they’re going to be much more comfortable being against the best.”
The 2013 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships will be hosted by the University of Georgia this year and will continue its five-day schedule that was started last year, running Feb. 18-22. The men’s team will be looking to continue its conference meet dominance, winning 16 of the last 17 titles, while the women will be searching for their first title since 2008.
Coach Jeff Shaffer’s divers will compete in Greensboro, N.C. this year for the NCAA Zone ‘B’ Diving meet, scheduled for March 11-13. On the swimming side, NCAAs for the women will be held in Minneapolis, Minn., at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center on March 20-22, while the men will make a return trip to Austin, Texas to compete in the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center for the national title, March 27-29.
Auburn returns 41 letter-winners – 23 men and 18 women – from the 2012-13 squad that saw the men’s team earn an eighth-place NCAA finish and the women a 13th-place finish nationally. Among the All-Americans returning are Marcelo Chierighini, James Disney-May, Zane Grothe, T.J. Leon, Arthur Mendes, John Santeiu, Emily Bos, Megan Fonteno and national 100 fly champion, Olivia Scott. 16 newcomers will complete the roster for the Tigers – nine men and seven women – for the upcoming season.