Swimming & Diving Heads To Atlanta For C-USA Championships
Mean Green Coming Off Back-To-Back Fourth Place Finishes
DENTON - After not racing another school in three weeks, the North Texas swimming & diving team is ready to return to competition at the 2018 Conference USA Championships, the four-day affair that begins Wednesday at Georgia Tech’s McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta.
Senior swimmer Sarah Vaisse spoke for the team in saying that they're ready to get back in the water and let their hard work pay off.
"All the work we've put in this season and the results we've had shows a lot," Vaisse said. "It shows how great we've been together as a group."
The team's chemistry has been a point of pride throughout the season and, while everyone has been focused in on their individual tapering in the final days of preparation, they're ready to cheer each other on. Junior swimmer Brittany Thurstin believes they have the edge in that area.
"It's really going to impact our relays, having everybody come together behind those four girls," Thurstin said. "Having such strong relay groups is going to set us apart."
The Mean Green's relay teams made headlines at last year's conference championships, setting two program records and recording top-10 times in school history in each of the five relays. Thurstin is confident that this year's event will be no different.
"Records will be set again."
Vaisse, who set the program record in the 200 individual medley in 2017, also wants to see more records fall, but really wants to leave it all out there and enjoy the moment in her final go-round.
"There are going to be some really good performances, and I'm excited to be there to experience it," Vaisse said.
Thurstin was a member of last year's record-setting 200 free relay squad, which returns all four participants. The team of Thurstin, Jowita Sienczyk, Isabelle Morris and Emmabeth Jensen fell one-tenth of a second shy of their own record in November's Kansas Classic.
The Kansas Classic headlined North Texas' performances: nine personal-best and 54 season-best times. The other highlight of the season came in a dominating 202-89 win over metroplex rival TCU in which the Mean Green nearly swept the events.
"Those meets give us a lot of self-confidence, and we need to focus on those as we prepare for conference," Vaisse said. "We had more positive performances than negative."
North Texas has never finished in the top three at the C-USA Championship, taking fourth the last two years. The goal all season has been to at least break the top three, and the key will be to start strong.
"We have to go out with the mindset we had against TCU," Vaisse said. "We started hot and won the first relay, then went on to win almost all the races. Everybody just needs to push a little more."
On the boards, the Mean Green look to qualify someone for NCAA Zone D competition for the first time since 2014. The diving group is led by junior Averie Ruiz, who has the sixth-best three-meter dive score in C-USA (260.40), and freshman Meghan Miller, who was named C-USA Diver of the Week on Oct. 25 and has the fifth-best one-meter dive score in the conference (254.85).
The championships begin Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 4:30 p.m. Fans can catch all the action on ESPN3.