Oct. 10, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - The Katie Robinson era of Tulane swimming and diving will officially begin over the weekend as the Green Wave open the 2013-14 season with a dual meet against West Florida and Florida State on Friday in Pensacola, Fla., before returning home to take on Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday in the Reily Student Recreation Center Natatorium.
The weekend marks the first action for the Green Wave under Robinson's direction as she joined the Tulane family on May 2 from Rutgers where she served as an assistant coach the previous two seasons. The former All-American at the University of Texas admittedly is excited to see what her team can do against outside competition. Admission to all home Tulane swimming and diving meets is free.
"This weekend, I would really like to learn a lot about the team as far as what happens in a pressure-like situation of a meet, who likes to be on the anchor leg of a relay, who excels under pressure, who needs what kind of motivation to be fast and really a lot of feedback in learning a lot about their excitement," Robinson said. "I'd also like to see the team interact in a competitive environment. We've done a lot of team-building things that have been really helpful for our training sessions and I see a lot of great support amongst the team, so I'm looking forward to seeing that in a team-competition setting."
The team returns 19 letterwinners from the last year's team, which finished fifth in the 2013 C-USA Championship with 373 points - a total that nearly doubled its score from a year ago and the most by the program since going for 402.5 in 2006 - and welcomes the talent of five incoming freshmen.
The 2013-14 Tulane roster features a pair of seniors in Cari Caprio and Caitlin Corcoran while juniors Rebecca Dugan, Morgan Evans, Molly Jubas, Vanessa Loewen, Amy Needham, Claire Schelske and Laura Turpen are back for their third collegiate seasons.
"We've had about six weeks of training at this point, and it's been good," Robinson said. "We started out with some general conditioning and getting the swimmers back in shape. We've split up into groups these last two weeks where we do a lot more specialized work with each of the swimmers based on what individual events they swim in the meets. It's been a lot more individualization, which I think is going to really help boost confidence for the events they're going to swim this weekend."
Friday's tri-meet in Pensacola will mark the debut of the West Florida swimming and diving program as the Argos begin their first season of competition in the pool. Florida State, meanwhile, has long been a power in the collegiate swimming and diving community as the Seminoles finished fourth at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship and 31st in the NCAA Division I Championships last season. UALR, meanwhile, finished 3-3 in dual meets and posted a fifth-place finish at the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Championship.
While the Tulane/West Florida match-up will be the first in both school's history, the Green Wave are 4-0 against Arkansas-Little Rock and 0-1 vs. Florida State. Tulane's initial meeting with UALR came on Nov. 15, 2013, when the Wave defeated the Trojans 82-12 in Denton, Texas. The Green Wave also posted a 170-62 home win over UALR on Nov. 13, 2004, to go with a pair of road victories courtesy of a 240-26 victory on Nov. 6, 2004 and a 154.5-69.5 decision last Oct. 6. The lone previous meeting against Florida State came on Oct. 15, 2004, when Tulane fell 195-98 in Tallahassee, Fla.
"West Florida is in its inaugural season as a swimming and diving program," Robinson said. "It's their very first home meet and their very first meet ever, so there's going to be lots of excitement around that and I'm excited to share in that. Florida State is a good, successful program. I'm excited to step up to the challenge of that opponent as well. Then, when we have our home meet against Arkansas-Little Rock, there's a lot of excitement there, too.
"It's my first home meet as a head coach here at Tulane and I'm excited about that. They bring a lot of good swimming that we're going to have to step up and swim against as well. I'm looking forward to a lot of good swimming and a lot of good feedback on where we are right now. It's a starting point and we'll move on from this with a lot of good information to help us get better for the next meets."
Following this weekend's meets, the Green Wave return to action on Friday, Oct. 25, when they travel to Baton Rouge, La., to square off against LSU before closing out the home portion of the schedule on Nov. 2 against Vanderbilt.