ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico swimming and diving team is hosting its second home meet of the season this weekend. Last time the Lobos were in Seidler Natatorium they were victorious over Northern Colorado by a final score of 196.5-101.5. This weekend it will be packed due to the Lobos welcoming Nevada, Grand Canyon, and Wyoming for the two day quad meet.
The Lobos currently stand at 1-1 having fallen to Northern Arizona, 131.5-166.5, in what was the first meet of the season.
Second year head coach Kunio Kono says the upcoming competition will be good for his team.
“We’re really excited for this weekend,” Kono said. “We have three good teams coming in.”
The Wyoming Cowgirls come to Albuquerque with an undefeated record of 3-0 on a team that boasts 27 returning letterwinners. The Cowgirls’ most recent victory came against Boise State, on Nov. 16, by a final score of 154-146. Junior Jordan Denny’s performance in the final leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay sealed the victory for Wyoming. Last season when New Mexico and Wyoming met, the Cowgirls emerged victorious taking 10 out of 11 swimming events, to beat UNM by a final of 142-95. Kono and his team know they are facing a tough squad.
“Wyoming beat Boise State, who is one of the top teams in our conference, so they will be ready to go,” said Kono. “Swimming against them will be a tough challenge but it will be a good competition. Our goal is to swim at their caliber, so this will be good to measure where we are.”
Similar to Wyoming, the Nevada Wolf Pack also comes to Albuquerque with three meets, and a record of 2-1. The Wolf Pack team, which has defeated Pacific University and Fresno State, has 17 returning letterwinners on its roster. Nevada’s only loss has come at the hands of UC Davis 151-149.
“Nevada is also a great team with a lot of depth,” Kono said. “They beat us last year so we’re looking forward to the match up.”
The third team the Lobos are welcoming is Grand Canyon University, which has transitioned to Division I, from Division II membership. The Antelopes are competing in the Western Athletic Conference.
“Grand Canyon is a really well-coached team. They had great success at the Division II level and it will be good competition between the teams. We beat them here last year for our senior day, but it’s a challenge nonetheless.”
The Antelopes have 13 returning letterwinners on their roster and come to UNM with a record of 1-2. Their victory came against the Vandals of Idaho on Nov. 1 by a final of 153-108. New Mexico was victorious against Grand Canyon last season on Senior Day winning nine events and tallying 131 points to Grand Canyon’s 122.
Competition begins Friday at 3:00 p.m. with the 200-yard medley relay; teams will swim eight events on Friday and eight events on Saturday.
This Friday and Saturday the Lobos will also be competing in the two day Wildcat Diving Invitational in Tucson, Ariz. where senior diver Megan Harper will be representing UNM.
The two day meet will feature 11 teams from the western part of the country including: Arizona, UCLA, USC, BYU, Northern Arizona, and Mountain West affiliates Nevada, Wyoming, Boise State, UNLV and SDSU.
Head diving coach Julie Weddle is impressed with the way Harper, the only diver on this year’s team, has been training thus far.
“Megan has been doing an amazing job of training alone and that’s going to make her a better diver going forward,” said Weddle. “It has been very hard for her to be the lone diver this year, but we’re doing different activities to stay motivated and the swimmers have done a great job of integrating her into their routine.”
The goals Weddle has for Harper at an event in which the Lobos have historically performed well are no different than any other invitational, perform well and achieve personal bests.
“We’re looking forward to personal bests in Tucson. It’s a great field with great divers.”
Competition begins at noon MT with the women’s 3-meter springboard.