PHOENIX, Arizona, January 9. A number of highly-ranked Division II schools will be in action for the first time this weekend since many of the major invitationals concluded in early December, including two intriguing match-ups between Florida state rivals. Below are five meets to watch this weekend.
Courtesy of: Kyle Staggs
Courtesy of: Kyle Staggs
Florida Southern vs. Nova Southeastern
Florida state rivals Florida Southern and Nova Southeastern will duel on Saturday in Lakeland, Fla. for Division II bragging rights within the state. The two teams last met in mid-December at Nova Southeastern's Shark Invitational, where the Florida Southern and Nova Southeastern women took third and fourth and the Florida Southern men and Nova Southeastern men finished second and third, respectively. A number of NCAA automatic and provisional qualifying times fell at that meet, and both schools will be looking to get the second half of their season off to an equally successful start.
Tampa, Kansas vs. Rollins
After hosting the Tampa Relay Carnival last weekend, the Tampa Spartans will be in for their first real test of the semester as they join the University of Kansas in a tri-meet at Rollins in Winter Park, Fla. Both Tampa and Rollins will look to rebound from recent performances, as Rollins fell to Westminster in a dual meet last night. Kansas, meanwhile, is in the middle of winter training and will likely be pretty tired. It should be an interesting matchup between a fresher Tampa and the Jayhawks.
Lenoir-Rhyne, St. Andrews vs. Queens
Queens University of Charlotte, one of the most talented up-and-coming Division II schools, will host Lenoir-Rhyne and St. Andrews for Senior Day on Saturday. The Royals are fresh off multiple victories against West Florida and Carson-Newman last weekend, and will look to continue that streak in their final home meet of the season. Both the men's and women's team looked sharp last weekend as several swimmers were under NCAA B cuts despite recently completing winter training -- Hannah Pfeiffer, Caroline Arakelian and Alex Menke. Those three swimmers, as well as a host of others, should put up more solid times this weekend.
Delta State vs. Ouachita Baptist
Delta State started the spring semester off on a winning note this week by sweeping Nova Southeastern in Ft. Lauderdale, picking up right where they left off last month. The Statesmen and women were one of the more surprising teams of the fall, posting some monster swims at their own Delta State Christmas Invitational last month. The Delta State women shot to first in Collegeswimming.com's Division II rankings, while the men are seventh. Freshman Anastasia Klyarovskaya set a Division II NCAA record in the women's 200 back at that meet and was recognized as the Counsilman Hunsaker Swimmer of the Week by Collegeswimming.com for her efforts. The last time Delta State competed against Ouachita Baptist they swept the meet, so they'll be looking for a similar result this time around.
CSU Bakersfield, Alaska-Fairbanks, Loyola Marymount vs. UC San Diego
The UC San Diego Tritons have been busy racing and winning awards lately, and will hope to continue that trend this weekend. Senior captains Anji Shakya and Nicholas Korth were recognized this week as the Counsilman Hunsaker Division II Swimmers of the Week for their performances against several Division I teams last weekend. Shakya earned eight individual dual meet wins last weekend, including impressive times of 52.61 in the 100 free and 1:51.40 in the 200 free. Korth, meanwhile, swept the breaststroke events twice last weekend en route to five individual victories on the weekend. Alaska-Fairbanks is currently ranked 12th in Division II by the College Swim Coaches Association of America and should give the Tritons all they can handle.