Argos’ swim and dive team aim for strong showing at home

By Morgan Givens
Staff writer

Ninth- ranked University of West Florida’s swimming and diving team will host three schools this weekend for the season’s first home meet at the UWF Aquatic Center.

At 4 p.m. Oct. 20,  the champion-caliber women’s swim and dive teams will face off against Thomas (Ga.) and Loyola New Orleans. On Saturday, the lone opponent for the Argos will be Division I school Tulane.

Head coach Andrew Hancock said he believes his team will be very competitive against the three teams.

“The girls have worked really hard in the pool and the weight room,” Hancock said, “and we’ve but in a lot of long hours. Nothing fancy, lots of hard work and we’re pleased with how they have done.”

(Photo courtesy of UWF Athletics)

 

The Argos swim and dive team look to continue on their strong start after the Shark Invitational last week in Davie, Florida. The swim team racked up nine top-10 finishes which included three top five finishes.

“We’ve had a great start,” Hancock said. “Our divers usually take longer to get everything squared away and feel natural, but this time around four divers performed well on their first try so now we’re ahead of schedule. On the swimming side, with so many new swimmers, we feel that they’re progressing and learning. It’s a long season and we’re off to a good start.”

On the diving side of the team, five athletes finished in the top 10 in the 1-meter event at the Shark Invitational, including a win from freshman Jesstina Farrell. This was Farrell’s second win of the season. Freshman Samantha Cochrane won the 3-meter dive, with teammates Mariah Constantakos and Francesca Vozzola finishing in second and third.

(Photo courtesy of UWF Athletics)

While freshman talent is ruling the diving boards, experience and improvement have been the key to success for senior distance swimmer Madeline Pitt. Pitt was the top finisher for the Argos at the Shark Invitational, winning the 400 individual medley race as well as finishing in the top five in the 1,000 freestyle event. Although she attributes hard physical work to her progress in her swimming career at UWF, it is not the only ingredient.

“Hard work is obviously a huge reason for any success and improvement,” Pitt said, “but another huge part of this sport is the mental aspect. It can be grueling to go to practice every day and push your body to the limit, but you have to be strong enough to give your all and not listen to that voice in your head telling you to give up.”

Pitt will compete in six different events over the weekend, including her main events: the 1000 freestyle, 200 individual medley, and the 500 freestyle. The senior from Trussville, Alabama said she looks forward competing against a Division I school like Tulane.

(Photo courtesy of UWF Athletics)

“I think we have done a great job preparing mentally to swim against a school like Tulane,” Pitt said, “Being a DII school, it can sometimes be intimidating, but I think we are looking at it as an awesome opportunity to race some really good swimmers and get into the habit of swimming fast.”

The next event on the schedule for the swimming and diving squad will be on Nov. 4 in Tallahassee. The next event at UWF will be a intrasquad meet on Dec. 16, then competition heats back up at the beginning of 2018, with a competition against Northern Michigan, Brenau, and Ouachita Baptist on Jan. 5.

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