ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico swimming and diving team will finally kick things off in the pool this weekend as they travel to Flagstaff, Ariz. to take on the Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. for the first meet of the 2013-14 season.
It’s a long time coming for the Lobos whose season opener at Seidler Natatorium was cancelled due to the government shutdown that prevented Air Force from traveling to Albuquerque. The cancellation was unfortunate, but as a result the Lobos are going into this meet with a great amount of energy.
“It’s definitely been frustrating practicing for this long without competing, but the team is very excited to get going,” said assistant coach Aimee Dunavant.
The meet is also the first of the season for the Lumberjacks who are returning 25 letterwinners from the 2012-13 season which they ended with a narrow second place finish to San José State at the WAC Championships.
Seven points is still a bigger margin than the four points that separated the two teams when they met in the Duke City last year. Going into the 400-yard freestyle relay, the final race of the meet, UNM lead 142-141, unfortunately for the Lobos, NAU’s “A” team touched the wall in 3:30.29, 0.49 seconds faster than the team of Marissa Campbell, Heidi Zeiger, Shayla King and Jorgi Hobson who clocked in at 3:30.78.
Suffering a loss coupled with the delayed start will undoubtedly make for an entertaining matchup.
New Mexico is going into the season with 21 returning letterwinners. The team finished sixth for the second year at the Mountain West Championships, however, seven Lobos was named All-Conference; the most since the 2003-04 season.
Of the seven all-conference selections four are returing in Monica Dudley, Megan Harper, Jorgi Hobson and Samantha Moss. Dudley, Harper and Hobson are three-sevenths of this year’s senior core which is hungry to lead the Lobos to a higher finish at conference.
The core seven are book-ended by the six freshmen Kono signed during the off season in Abigail Wheeler, Kaela McKee, Lindsey Englestead, Luchile Chevalier, Fanni Pataki and Anna Lengyel.
Kono’s squad continues to get deeper and more talented, the meet against NAU this Saturday will be a small preview of what’s to come and the improvement the team has made over the past year.