This past Sunday it was family weekend for the UNH Swimming and Diving team as they faced off against America East opponent UVM. The stands were filled with excited family and friends ready for UNH to kick off the season.
The Wildcats opened up the season with a huge win over the Catamounts with a score of 205-95. They won 14 out of 16 total events, winning all of the swimming events and dropping both diving events. It’s a good start to the year for the Wildcats as they open up 1-0 in conference play and did it in dominating fashion.
Head coach Josh Willman felt pretty confident going into this meet, but he wanted more than just the win.
“It’s was more about making a statement in our first meet out to the rest of the conference…this is what we have, and this is how strong we are,” Willman said.
He added, “it gets everyone on the team pumped about the season to see everyone perform really well and think about where we can go this year.”
Willman has high hopes for the 2019 squad after their performance. He has high hopes for divers Anna Burns, Lauren O’Keefe and Francesca Femia while senior diver Allison Stefanelli is out for the semester with an injury.
“Allison will be back in January and I think the rest of them are in a process of learning new dives and increasing their degree of difficulty. I think they had their best scores here and we are working on improving every day.”
This team was led by sophomore freestyler Anna Metlzer who was stellar yet again, winning three individual events and was a part of the winning 400 free relay team. She was leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else in the pool and it showed in her times. In the 200 freestyle, she had a time of 1:51.41 which was seven seconds ahead of the nearest UVM swimmer. In the 500 freestyle the closest swimmer was 18 seconds behind her. Metzler continues her dominance and she didn’t do it on her own.
Three first-year swimmers won events in their collegiate debuts. Jamy Lum finished first in the 100 meter breaststroke, Elsie Pagel won the 200 meter fly and Audry Tirrell won the 100 meter freestyle. It’s a winning formula anytime you can get production from the younger athletes while the experienced swimmers continue their success.
The Wildcats will return to action as they travel to Connecticut to face-off against CCSU on Saturday, October 26th. They will have a different strategy going into this meet as the events won’t be in the same order, and coach Willman will have to do some maneuvering.
“We’re going to have some swimmers who specialize in events and we don’t want them going in back to back events, so we’re going to have to change up a little bit.” Willman said.
He continued, “We feel pretty good going into this one, I think they are better than UVM but we still have to go into it full force.”