The University of Miami women’s swimming & diving team captured its first dual meet victory of the season Saturday morning, topping crosstown foe FIU, 165-133, at the Whitten University Center Pool.
The Hurricanes showed some resiliency after FIU captured the meet’s first event, the 200 medley relay, and faced an early deficit when the Panthers took two of the top-three finishes in the 1,650-yard freestyle.
Miami (1-1) reeled off three straight top finishes in the next three events and, coupled with another strong showing from redshirt sophomore diver Alicia Blagg, topped the Panthers to defend their home water.
“They showed a lot of heart. I’m very proud of them,” head swimming coach Andy Kershaw said. “We talk a lot about our pool being a special place, and I think they embraced that. They owned that. I know FIU was missing some of their important swimmers as well. I think it was great. Both teams had to step up and I’m proud of our team.”
Blagg picked up her third and fourth wins of the season, capturing both springboard events for the second straight day. Blagg, who won the 1-meter and 3-meter Friday against Florida, took top finishes in the 1-meter (340.28) and 3-meter (329.93) against the Panthers.
Trailing on the scoreboard early, Miami swept the top-three finishes in the 200-yard freestyle, with sophomore Sydney Knapp(1:52.87), sophomore Carmen San Nicolas Martinez (1:53.28) and freshman Maria Artigas Fernandez (1:53.73) helping Miami cut into the deficit.
Senior tri-captain Roxanne Yu (56.41) and sophomore Alaina Skellett (57.43) teamed up to take the top-two finishes in the 100-yard backstroke, while freshman Zorry Mason (1:03.91) kept the momentum rolling with the second win of her collegiate career, this one in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Senior tri-captain Katie Sickinger (2:09.50) added points for Miami in the 200-yard butterfly and scored points in two other events as well.
“One of the key things in this meet was our second-, third- and fourth-place finishes,” Kershaw said. You look at someone like Katie Sickinger – the places that she got were critical to the final outcome of this meet. Certainly nothing to take away from the winners, but after not getting the win in the medley relay, we could not have made that back up had we not had the seconds, thirds and fourths.”
Freshman Coco Hull (24.25) earned her first collegiate win with the top showing in the 50-yard freestyle, while San Nicolas Martinez (52.92) and Artigas Fernandez (53.18) posted the top-two times in the 100-yard freestyle, as Miami started to pull away.
Two more wins from Mason, coming in the 100-yard butterfly (55.55) and 200-yard IM (2:02.75) helped set the Hurricanes up for a big finish. Miami’s top entry in the 400-yard freestyle relay, comprised of Artigas Fernandez, San Nicolas Martinez, Hull and Knapp, took the top finish in the event with a time of 3:30.63.
The Hurricanes return to the pool for two weeks of training before heading out to Dallas, Texas for the SMU Classic from Oct. 12-13.
“I’m really, really happy. The way we’re finishing the races, that’s what we set out to do at the beginning of the season,” Kershaw said. “We haven’t really introduced any of our speed- or power-type work. That’s coming. I’m really excited.”