The Miami Hurricanes swimming & diving team carried momentum from an impressive opening day at the SMU Classic into even more success Saturday at the Westside Aquatic Center.
Competing in an eye-popping field that included USC, Louisville, Michigan and UCLA, Miami recorded its best finish ever at the SMU Classic with 230 points. Miami finished ahead of SMU and just nine points behind UCLA.
“We had another great night tonight – even better than last night,” head swimming coach Andy Kershaw said. “I’m really excited, once again, to see our team compete like they did. They were relentless.”
For the second straight night, diver Wally Layland earned Miami significant points – this time with the top finish in the 3-meter. Layland, who took second in the “A” final of the 1-meter Friday night with 259.15 points, cruised to a win in the 3-meter with a score of 294.00.
Layland went on to be named the meet’s “high point diver” as the top performer on the boards this weekend.
Kershaw called Layland’s performance “tremendous.”
“I’m really proud of their attitudes and their efforts and all the energy they brought. We had quite a few highlights,” he said. “Wally came up huge for us and earned us significant points.
Another one of those highlights was freshman Alaina Skellett, one of five first-year Hurricanes competing on the nine-member contingent at the SMU Classic
Skellett broke former Hurricane Christina Leander’s school record in the 200-yard backstroke with an NCAA “B” cut time of 1:56.69. Her performance was the second-best time in the “B” final of the 200 backstroke.
“It’s pretty amazing to get a school record here in October from a freshman, and also have that be a ‘B’ cut time,” Kershaw said. “I was proud of Alaina and the way all of our younger swimmers competed this weekend.”
Fellow freshman Annie Kyriakidis delivered a “B” cut time of her own, finishing in fourth place in the 200 breaststroke (2:14.45). Sophomore Manon Viguier was up to the challenge with her best time in the 100 free (49.85) earning her NCAA consideration as a “B” cut.
Both Viguier (4:52.12) and freshman Carmen San Nicolas (5:00.01) also impressed in the 500 free.
“It was a pretty amazing night, and I think a lot of it had to do with their attitudes and just the effort they’ve put out there and their willingness to go out and race as fast as they can,” Kershaw said. “That was great to see.”
Kershaw said he expects the weekend in Texas to pay dividends for the Hurricanes this season, beginning with a dual meet Oct. 27 at Pittsburgh.
“That’s what we carry forward from here,” he said. “We’re a little bit better than we were coming out here. Now we’ll train and we’ll continue raise our bar every day. I’m excited to see what this leads to in our next competition.”