North Texas Daily

Swimming tests new waters in American Athletic Conference

Swimming tests new waters in American Athletic Conference

Swimming tests new waters in American Athletic Conference
October 16
12:00 2022

Swimming opened up its first season in the American Athletic Conference, going 1-1 in two dual meets in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

While in Conference USA for the past nine seasons, swimming is the first team to move on to The American.

“We know this is going to be a historic season — one that is going to be full of challenges,” Roth said. “We’re going to be in a conference we have never been a part of before with a whole caliber of programs that is elevated from our Conference USA championships.”

In September, the Mean Green competed in the Sam Freas Invite, an unscored preseason meet at Oklahoma Christian University. The team set meet records for the 200-yard medley, 100-yard backstroke, 200-yard backstroke, 50-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke and 100-yard individual medley.

Swimmers get ready to practice at the Pohl Recreation Center on Oct. 5, 2022. Photo by Aaron Caskey

“Typically the record board has been changed over by people in their third and fourth year in the program,” Roth said. “To have such a large, strong group of student-athletes that are charging towards their prime — it shows [the newcomers to our team] what this path can lead to.”

Senior London Ferris also set a meet record in the 100-yard freestyle to begin her final season with the team, clocking in at 53.7 seconds in the contest.

“I wasn’t thinking of any particular goal […]” Ferris said. “I wanted to see what I had, give it my best shot and not regret a race.”

North Texas’ regular season started with a 150-88 loss to New Mexico State University. The Mean Green secured all three spots on the podium in the 100-yard breaststroke, with sophomore Laura Mazzotta finishing first with a time of 2:27.43. Her teammate, junior Tram Nguyen, finished at 2:27.96 to lock up second place and sophomore Paige Walsh took third with a 2:36.94 mark.

The team bounced back against the University of New Mexico the next day, coming away with a 125-118 victory. Ferris gave North Texas an early advantage with her first-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle. Ferris also won gold in the 100-yard freestyle, beating out the second-place finisher, freshman Brynn Quintana of New Mexico, by more than two-and-a-half seconds.

Junior Diana Kolb took first in both the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yards individual medley. Mazzotta and Nguyen followed to sweep the podium in the event.

Nguyen secured third place in another podium sweep for the Mean Green in the 100-yard fly. Sophomore Shaena McCloud and junior Cierra Scully finished first and second, with McCloud finishing at 58.74. 

Mazzotta won the final individual race of the day, the 100-yard breaststroke, with a time of 1:07.55, setting up a 200-yard free relay to determine who won the duel. McCloud, Ferris, Scully and senior Allison Scott secured the Mean Green’s first duel win since December 2021 with a time of 1:36.8. 

“[Success is] not just times on a clock,” Roth said. “It is easy to point to school records and say ‘that defines success,’ but for me, it is watching our student-athletes become stronger in their sense of self.”

Brittany Roth coaches swim practice at the Pohl Recreation Center on Oct. 6, 2022. Photo by Aaron Caskey

Swimming is the first sport to compete in The American for North Texas, with the other Mean Green athletics to follow next year. Winter sports like basketball will play one more year as a member of C-USA before making the transition for the 2023-24 season.

“I don’t feel pressure — I only view [The American conference] as an opportunity,” Roth said. “I think pressure means that everybody expects us to do something. I have no problems walking into that place with people having minimal expectations from us.”

North Texas travels to face the University of Houston in the Houston Diving Invite this weekend for the Mean Green’s first taste of playing another team in The American. Sophomore Noelle Marsh aspires for the team to “[set] the example” for other North Texas athletics as their season continues.

“We’re the first team in so we’ve got to show them we mean business,” Marsh said. “We’re not just here, we deserve to be here.”

Featured Image: Swimmers warm up for practice at the Pohl Recreation Center on Oct. 5, 2022. Photo by Aaron Caskey

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James Carroll

James Carroll

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