Nov. 20, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University women's swimming and diving program will wrap up the fall portion of the 2013-14 schedule and look to set the tone for the rest of the campaign when the Green Wave travel to Houston to participate in the Phil Hansel Invitation from Thursday through Saturday at the University of Houston's Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.
The three-day event will start each morning at 10 with the preliminaries while the finals are slated to start daily at 6 p.m. On Thursday, the swimmers will compete in the 200 free relay, 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free and 400 medley relay. The action continues on Friday with the 200 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back and 800 free relay before closing out the meet on Saturday with the 1650 free, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly and 400free relay. Diving begins on Thursday with the three-meter springboard, followed by the one-meter on Friday and the platform on Saturday.
"We've prepared in a way that should allow them to swim pretty fast," first-year Tulane head coach Katie Robinson said of her expectations of the team over the weekend. "We've given them a bit of a break, which is funny. For other sports you could think, `Why are you letting up right before a big competition?' but that's how swimming works. We've allowed them a little bit of a rest so they get out of the `valley of fatigue' as I like to call it and we've already seen a spunk in their step so to speak so they're getting excited to swim fast.
"I'm looking forward to seeing them swim fast and I think I want to see some records broken this weekend. I think that would be fun. We had goal meetings with each one of the individual swimmers on our team and the goals that they have are very good. If they reach those goals, we will be setting some records this weekend."
The Green Wave are one of seven teams participating in the event as Tulane will square off against Conference USA foes North Texas and Rice, along with Idaho, Fresno State and New Mexico State as well as host Houston. The Phill Hansel Invitational is a championship-format meet, which is a similar schedule that the 2014 Conference USA meet will follow from Feb. 26 through May 1 in Atlanta, Ga.
Tulane heads to Houston 2-3 in dual-meet competition, dropping a 166-122 decision to Vanderbilt on Nov. 2 in their last action before the Hansel Invite. With a roster featuring just two seniors and a combined 15 freshmen and sophomores, the Green Wave have put up solid times throughout the fall semester - including five career-best showings and 19 season-best performances in the meet against the Commodores.
In the five previous meets this season, the sophomore tandem of Mia Schachter and Rachel Schneider along with the freshman duo of Joy Jason and Ellie Sills have combined to post nine Top 15 overall times in the Tulane record book and the Green Wave also added to the relay listing in the 200 medley. On the diving front, sophomores Lauren Arnold and Maren Kjell have posted 11 Top 15 performances - six in the one-meter and five at the three-meter elevation - with Arnold already qualified for the Zone Meet.
"This meet will tell us a lot about what we need to work on moving forward," Robinson added. "I think it's going to be good to see them race. It's prelims and finals on one day, then prelims and finals the next day, and then prelims and finals on the last day. It's a marathon of an event, with a lot of swimming and lots of fast swimming. And then to get up the next day and on the third day to do it all over again, I'm looking forward to seeing how they prepare and how they manage their swimming every weekend."
Following the Phill Hansel Invitational, the Green Wave will enjoy some time away from outside competition before returning to action on Jan. 10 when they travel to the West Coast to take on San Diego State.