FAYETTEVILLE – Tough competition and three home meets highlight the Arkansas women’s swimming and diving 2014-15 schedule, released by head coach Sean Schimmel Friday.
The Razorbacks will tangle with four opponents who placed in the top-50 team rankings at the NCAA Championships last season: Texas A&M (Oct. 18), Florida (Sept. 27), Missouri (Oct. 24) and Kansas (Jan. 31).
Arkansas is set to host three meets in the Arkansas Natatorium against Texas A&M (Oct. 18), Missouri (Oct. 24) and Missouri State (Jan. 23).
“Our women always swim with a lot of pride, whether we’re on the road or at home,” said Schimmel of Arkansas’ home slate. “We have a few opportunities to be in Fayetteville and when those opportunities arise, the women seem to raise the bar with what they’re doing. Having great competition like Texas A&M and Missouri come in, it should be two very exciting meets back-to-back. I’m sure our women will step up and get some things done that day.”
Last season, Arkansas finished off dual meet competition 9-1 (3-1 SEC), setting a new school record of 14 straight dual-meet wins from Oct. 26, 2012 to Nov. 9, 2013. The previous record of 13 was set from the 1990-91 season to 1991-92.
To kick off the 2014-15 season, Arkansas will open competition with an intersquad meet on Sept. 13, where fans can get a preview of the Razorback talent. Following the friendly competition, Arkansas will hit the road to open dual meet and Southeastern Conference competition at Florida (Sept. 27), before returning home for two more SEC meets against Texas A&M and Missouri.
“It’s exciting that our first three meets are SEC meets,” said Schimmel. “Right off the bat we get going with challenges at a high level. Florida is leading the way, they’re normally a top five team in the country, so our work is cut out for us. We’re really going to focus on ourselves and swimming in our own lanes and diving on our own boards.
Before travelling back to Florida for winter training, Arkansas will head to Nebraska for a dual meet (Nov. 8) and then to Atlanta for the Georgia Tech Invitational (Nov. 20-22).
“The Georgia Tech Invite in November is one of our few opportunities for a prelims/finals, three-day meet situation, which is what SEC and NCAA Championships are,” said Schimmel. “It’s a bench mark to see where we’re at in the end of November. That’s a big deal for us and we gear towards that in the fall, and then we come back in December and get back to work to gear back up for February and March.”
Following winter training, Arkansas will travel to Vanderbilt (Jan. 10) and Kansas (Jan. 31) before competing at the Virginia Tech Invitational (Feb. 7-10).
Arkansas will then look to improve on last year’s performances at the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships at Auburn, on Feb.17-21. Last season at the conference championships Arkansas placed sixth with a total of 572 points.
“Our whole focus for our team and individually is the NCAAs,” said Schimmel. “Getting there and making an impact on a National level is set up by the SEC Championships, because that’s really our pathway.”
Following the SEC Championships, Schimmel and the Razorbacks will travel to Greensboro, North Carolina, for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships on March 19-21. Arkansas divers will head to the NCAA Zone Diving Championships in Iowa City, Iowa (March 9-12).
“We want to get seven swimmers and one diver to go to NCAAs and produce as many All-Americans as possible as well as being a being a top-25 team,” said Schimmel, “that’s really our ultimate goal. Two years ago we were 26th at the NCAAs, so we were right there on the edge. That’s the next step for us to take individually and as a team to take us into the top-25.”
Schimmel enters his third season at the helm of the program, assisted by associate head coach Todd Mann (ninth season) and diving coach Jeff DiNicola (second season).
The Razorbacks will open the season with an intersquad meet on Sept. 13, before opening dual-meet and Southeastern Conference action on the road at Florida on Sept. 27.
For more information on Arkansas women’s swimming and diving, follow @RazorbackSD on Twitter
|Sept. 13||Intersquad||Fayetteville, Ark.||8 a.m.|
|Sept. 27||at Florida*||Gainesville, Fla.||10 a.m.|
|Oct. 18||Texas A&M*||Fayetteville, Ark.||10 a.m.|
|Oct. 24||Missouri*||Fayetteville, Ark.||10 a.m.|
|Nov. 8||at Nebraska||Lincoln, Neb.||11 a.m.|
|Nov. 14||Alumni Relays||Fayetteville, Ark.||5 p.m.|
|Nov. 20-22||Georgia Tech Invite||Atlanta, Ga.||All Day|
|Dec. 29-Jan. 4||Swim Training||Del Ray Beach, Fla.||All Day|
|Jan.1-7||Dive Training||Coral Springs, Fla.||All Day|
|Jan. 10||at Vanderbilt*||Nashville, Tenn.||10 a.m.|
|Jan. 23||Missouri State||Fayetteville, Ark.||4 p.m.|
|Jan. 31||at Kansas||Lawrence, Kan.||10 a.m.|
|Feb, 7-8||Virginia Tech Invite||Blacksburg, Va.||All Day|
|Feb. 17-21||SEC Championships||Auburn, Ala.||All Day|
|Feb. 28- March 1||NCAA Last Chance||Athens, Ga.||All Day|
|March 9-12||NCAA Zone Diving Championships||Iowa City, Iowa||All Day|
|March19-21||NCAA Championships||Greensboro, N.C.||All Day|