By Jason Marsteller
PHOENIX, Arizona, October 15. ONE of three meets featured this week, the women's Southeastern Conference showdown pitting Arkansas and Vanderbilt against the homestanding Tennessee Lady Vols is a featured content in the SwimmingWorldMagazine.com Meet of the Week series.
Here is a quick preview of the match-up:
Date and Time: Friday, October 17 at 2 p.m. EST
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Facility: Allan Jones Aquatic Center
Arkansas' Last Time Out:
This will be the season-opener for Arkansas.
Looking forward with Arkansas' head coach Jeff Poppell:
We are very excited about the start of our season this week against Tennessee and Vanderbilt, and we know we have a very tough challenge ahead us. Tennessee finished 8th at last year's NCAA Championships and will undoubtedly be very motivated to swim fast in their first SEC meet in their new facility. Unfortunately, we have had quite a bit of bad luck since the start of the season with several of our key athletes succumbing to illnesses such as mononucleosis and bronchitis, and we are operating with a squad in which about only two-thirds of our swimmers are healthy. Nonetheless, we hope to be competitive in several events and to get our season off to a positive start.
Vanderbilt's Last Time Out:
Vanderbilt swept Centre College (127-106) and Rhodes College (176-43) in its home opener at the Centennial Sportsplex in Nashville.
Leigh-Ann Axt, Jennifer Molchan and Kelly Obranowicz led the way for the Commodores with a pair of wins each.
Axt topped the 1,000-yard free in 10:32.84, while also winning the 500-yard free in 5:12.49.
Molchan picked up a win in the 200-yard free (1:57.64) before helping the 200-yard free relay team of Christina Chao, Anna Fargo, Molchan and Obranowicz to victory in 1:41.48.
Obranowicz added to her relay victory with a winning time of 55.06 in the 100-yard fly.
Looking forward with Vanderbilt's head coach Jeremy Organ:
We are looking forward to competing against Friday. The meet is going to be very competitive and will be a great test of character for our young team.
Tennessee's Last Time Out:
This will be the second meet of the season for the Tennessee Lady Vols. The team hosts Cumberlands and Louisville the day before in a pair of dual meets.
Looking forward with Tennessee's head coach Matt Kredich:
This tri-meet is really exciting to be a part of, and I'm thrilled for our teams that we've been chosen as the Meet of the Week. These three teams, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Vanderbilt, are three of the most rapidly improving teams in the country. Jeremy Organ at Vandy literally started that program from scratch two years ago and they've now got some really solid SEC swimmers on their team. Jeff Poppell and Todd Mann have created a really powerful culture in just two years at Arkansas and they are clearly a top 20 NCAA team in the making. I expect all three teams to be relentless in the way we race, and the bottom line is we're going to have some great competition on Friday.
One of our goals on Friday is to improve from what we do on Thursday. I think we'll have some specific things to work on heading into that meet in terms of race strategy, intensity, and preparation. One of the big ones for our younger swimmers will be to get a sense of the flow of a college dual meet. We are likely to have some people swimming events that are 5-10 minutes apart, and our athletes expect to excel no matter what. What you won't hear from us are veiled excuses, like "we're in a tough training part of the season" or "we had a meet yesterday." That is sometimes tough for freshmen to understand, but I think ours already have that sense.
We are deeper than Vandy, but I expect some really good races out of them. I think that the meet against Arkansas is going to be simply a fantastic college dual meet.