FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas swimming and diving team is back in action Saturday, traveling to Denver, Colo., to face Denver and Utah at 11 a.m. in its second double-dual meet of the year.
“It should be a great competition this weekend,” said head coach Jeff Poppell. “We’re expecting a very formidable challenge against both programs and we’re looking forward to it.”
The Lady Razorbacks are coming off of a tremendous start, breaking the school record in the 200 butterfly and boasting two Southeastern Conference weekly awards after the first meet.
“They’ve trained very hard over the first two months of the season and they’ve risen to the challenge,” Poppell said. “I can’t be any happier with our program and the SEC honors are just icing on the cake. I can’t imagine a better start and hopefully that’s indicative of better things to come over the course of the season.”
Arkansas is 1-1 after its season opener, defeating North Texas 210-90 and dropping a close competition to No. 5 Georgia, 127-168. Junior Madison Palmer was named SEC Diver of the Week, qualifying for the NCAA Zone Diving meet on both the one-meter and three-meter springboards. Freshman Katie Kastes was selected as SEC Freshman of the Week after breaking the 200 fly record and winning three events. In addition, the Lady’Backs’ score against the Mean Green marked the first time in school history Arkansas scored over 200 points in a meet.
The game plan for this weekend is to improve performances and to keep putting the pieces of the puzzle together.
“We’re going to try swimming some athletes in a number of different events,” said Poppell. “One of our strengths in this year’s squad is we have a lot of versatility. Our young ladies can swim a lot of different events and having only one meet under our belt, we’ve only had a chance to see them in one set of events. Having them swim different events give us an opportunity to see what they can do. If we can come away with improvement in times that’s the true benchmark to see whether or not we’re on track.”
The Lady’Backs took their first win from Denver last season with a 168-130 victory at home Jan. 6. In the Pioneers’ last meet they touched in first in 11 events, winning a quad meet against Air Force, Colorado College, Mines and Metro State. Utah was 10-0 in dual meets last year and opened the season with a win over New Mexico. This is the first meeting between Arkansas and the Utes.
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