ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - To say that Head Coach Kunio Kono, assistant coach Aimee Dunavant and head diving coach Julie Weddle are responsible for the success of the Lobo swimming and diving team is almost unnecessary. They are responsible for the recruitment of the athletes as well as schedule arrangement, training and practice after all, but as much of the responsibility to motivate the team and lead them to victory lands on the athletes themselves.
Being able to lead a team is a quality that not many have, those that do possess it however have the ability to will the team to victory. Seniors Jorgi Hobson, Monica Dudley, Heidi Zeiger and Megan Harper, along with junior Caitlin Gardiner possess that ability and as such they have been chosen by their teammates as captains for the 2013-2014 season.
This is the second go-round for Zeiger, who was also captain last year. The native of Sylmar, Calif., completed another stellar season for the Lobos as she was a Spring 2013 Academic All-Conference selection and was also named a Scholar-Athlete. All of this was on top of her being part of the 800-yard freestyle relay team that set a new school record with their performance at the 2013 Mountain West Swimming and Diving Championships.
Hobson, a child of the Land of Enchantment by way of Las Cruces, has been one of the more prolific swimmers for the Lobos in her event- the 100-yard butterfly over the course of three years. The graduate of Las Cruces is the current owner of the school record in her signature event with a time 53.82, which she set en route to a bronze medal at the 2013 MW Championships. She was also part of the 200-yard medley relay team which set a new school record. Like Zeiger, Hobson was also Academic All-Conference and a Scholar-Athlete.
"Our captains are selected by their teammates because I truly believe that represents a greater honor than being selected by the coaches," he said. "These five young ladies have been exemplary in leading their team with hard work and passionate dedication to University of New Mexico Swimming and Diving team."
Harper is the lone diver on the team this season, but her impact and leadership will be felt nonetheless. The native of Phoenix, Ariz. is highly decorated having won two bronze medals off the 3-meter springboard over the course of her career to accompany her multiple MW Athlete of the Week honors. The talented diver has also qualified for USA National Championships the past two years and set a new school record off the 3-meter board during the 2012-2013 season.
The final senior leader this season is Monica Dudley who came to UNM from Overland Park, Kan. The younger sibling of former swimmer Maria Dudley owns school records in the 500-, 1,000- and 1,650-yard freestyle. This past season she swam to an All-Conference selection after finishing seventh in the aforementioned 500-yard free. Dudley, like her teammates contributed to the team's success outside the water and was a recipient of both the Spring Academic All-Conference and Scholar-Athlete Awards.
Rounding out the five-some is junior Caitlin Gardiner who is from the West Cape. Gardiner is currently on the All-Time Top Times list with the second best time in the 200-yard backstroke which she set during the 2012-2013 season. Her highest finish during the 2013 MW Championships came in the 200-yard back as she touched the wall 12th; she was also a recipient of the Academic All-Conference and Scholar-Athlete Awards.
The Lobos begin practice on Aug. 26th and gear up for the season which begins on Oct. 5 when UNM welcomes the Air Force Falcons at 11 a.m.
"Our athletes are excellent people and quality student-athletes," said Kono. "They care about their team and are honest in their relationships with them. The leadership of this team is in good hands."