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Swimming and diving off to solid start for 2018-2019 season

Swimming and diving off to solid start for 2018-2019 season

Swimming and diving off to solid start for 2018-2019 season
November 03
08:00 2018

The North Texas swimming and diving team has competed in four meets this fall, and despite being young, the 2018-19 season has already started on the right foot.

The Mean Green have 12 freshmen on the team this year, and head coach Brittany Roth said the young swimmers have adapted well and that she is happy with where the team is sitting at midway through the fall semester.

“[With] having so many newcomers in the program, I am happy where we are at as a program right now,” Roth said. “I walked away from our last meet realizing a lot of our top finishers are our upperclassmen who have been here a few years. Those returners have been in our program for years, and they are able to handle the aggressive training we do here. It’s unlike what any of our newcomers have ever done. So even though our newcomers are still a little bit tired and acclimating, I am excited about everyone’s performance as we go to Kansas in a few weeks.”

The women’s first meet of the year was the annual North Texas Relays, which took place in Pohl Recreation Center and the Physical Education Building. The Mean Green accumulated 206 total points, which was more than enough to win the title over Arkansas-Little Rock (130 points) and Oklahoma Baptist (74 points).

They then traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas for a dual meet with the Trojans and won all 16 swimming and diving events. The Mean Green were led by sophomore Leigh Faires McGee and junior Jowita Sienczyk, both of whom had four first place finishes.

McGee said great coaching has been the reason why North Texas was able to start out so fast. She said Coach Roth and her assistants really push the entire team to get the best out of them every single day.

“We have great coaching,” McGee said. “I also want to work hard and want to get better. I want to achieve things, so this season I’ve learned to push myself even harder than I ever have.”

Due to her performance, Sienczyk was awarded Conference USA Swimmer of the Week. She said the way she swam last year was not good enough for her standards, so she worked hard this offseason to improve and become one of the Mean Green’s top swimmers.

“Last year I wasn’t swimming as good as I was this year, so I think the work I put in during the summer and during the offseason has helped me get off to such a great start,” Sienczyk said.

The alumni green/white meet opened the pool Saturday to past Mean Green swimmers and divers. Jordan Collard

Senior Averie Ruiz and sophomore Meghan Miller have been the top two divers for North Texas this season. Both won a gold medal in Little Rock, Arkansas and Ruiz placed third in the one-meter dive at the Houston Diving Invite. Miller led North Texas during the platform dive with a total score of 175.50.

Ruiz said diving coach Mark Murdock constantly reminds his unit of the talent this group has. She said Coach Murdock pushes them to fulfill their goals throughout the season.

“We set expectations for ourselves,” Ruiz said. “Mark is really good about holding us accountable. Even if we’re a little bit nervous about fulfilling our expectations, [Murdock] really lets us know what we are capable of. As a whole, we are always trying to become better, stay uncomfortable and challenge ourselves.”

The team’s most recent competition was at a double-dual meet against Houston and Southern Methodist in Dallas.

The Mean Green earned four podium finishes and ended up finishing in third place with a total of 101 points. McGee won two silver medals in the 200 and 500-yard freestyles. Senior Brittany Thurstin placed second in the 50-yard freestyle and North Texas capped the day off with a third place finish in the 400-yard freestyle, which is comprised of McGee, Thurstin, Emmabeth Jensen and Bryanna Vasquez.

“It was a very good outing,” Roth said. “Every time we have an opportunity to compete, we always try to figure out how we can get better and improve on what we did the last time out. Our girls are starting to show some of their speed in the pool. We had some girls who were more aggressive on the front end, and that initial speed is what I’ve been wanting to see this year.”

Roth said once her team starts to settle into the program and rest, they will be able to finish the race better than they did at the meet in Dallas.

“We struggled a little bit on the back end of the race because we got tired,” Roth said. “Once these girls acclimate a little bit more to our program and get some rest, that back piece will come. Then we will start to see very good times.”

The Mean Green continue to prepare for the Kansas Classic in Topeka, Kansas from Nov. 16 to 18, which will be the final meet before the USA Winter Swimming Nationals at the end of November.

Featured Image: Senior Averie Ruiz performs a dive at the alumni green/white meet Saturday. Ruiz earned the highest marks for the Mean Green at the dual meet against Southern Methodist University and University of Houston on Oct. 20. Jordan Collard

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Bronte Hermesmeyer

Bronte Hermesmeyer

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