The UNH Coaches Blog will be a weekly feature in which selected coaches share thoughts and insights about their program. This week’s blog highlights the women’s basketball team and swimming & diving team.

The women’s basketball team is very excited and has high expectations for the upcoming season! We began official practice this past Saturday, October 17th. After six weeks of pre-season conditioning we were ready to begin practice. Our players have been working exceptionally hard in the pre-season and it carried over to the beginning days of practice.

This year we will rely heavily on our senior leadership. Candace Williams, Amy Simpson, Chrissy Hall and Racheal Fowler all want to go out on top. They have put in their time and are due to win some more ball games. I can feel it; they are hungry and ready to make some noise this season. It shows in the first three practices, as they have been urging the team to give more and leave it all on the floor.

Our captains, Candace Williams, Denise Beliveau and Kelsey Hogan have already shown great strides in leading this team. They have done a nice job of setting a good example and getting our players ready to compete, especially our 4 freshmen. It is their work ethic, commitment and dedication that our players look to and rely on!

Although it is early and we have yet to play any games, our players are excited and enthusiastic for the upcoming season. They have worked hard and are ready to make a run in the AE conference.  We have a good non-conference schedule, one that will challenge us and prepare us for conference play. We are very excited about the opportunity to play Louisville (national championship runner-up) here in Lundholm Gymnasium on December 22nd at 7pm. Please come and cheer us on as we face the Cardinals!

It is early, but the expectations are high…the Cats are ready to make some noise!!

It is always great to be a WILDCAT!

(Kristin Cole is entering her third year as UNH women’s basketball head coach.)

The swim team is off to a great start so far. Earlier in September we were a little nervous because the major renovations to Swasey Pool from the summer had fallen behind and we couldn’t start training here on campus for the first few weeks. This, however, worked to our advantage because we did our training at the Jenny Thompson Outdoor Pool in nearby Dover which is a long course facility. This is something that we have done in past years and it has set a great foundation for the fall. Swimming outside in the sun is a terrific way to start.
The reconstruction of Swasey was completed in late September and we were excited to start swimming again in our home pool. It is beautiful and with the new lane lines and the video cameras and flat screen TV for the divers it got everyone psyched up for the upcoming season.

This past weekend we opened up our season on the road with a double dual meet against Siena and Niagara on Saturday and then took on Wagner on Sunday. We were all looking forward to seeing how our training was paying off. The team had trained really hard last Spring in post season and many continued that work over the summer, so the team overall was ready to go. At Siena on Saturday, UNH swimmers broke six pool records and some of the freshmen approached lifetime best in their events. What was even more impressive is that a few upperclassmen also achieved in-season best times. It was also great to see Ben and Brooke Nigro, both former members of the coaching staff here at UNH who are now doing real well coaching at Niagara.

At Wagner on Sunday again we raced well and broke a couple of pool records. I think that it is important to have back-to-back meets several times a year as it forces us to race under the conditions that resemble a championship format and will get us ready for America East’s championship.

Overall the weekend was great and we all had a lot of fun. We are now 3-0 and are looking forward to our next meet on November 7 with Central Connecticut at our Swim Team’s Family Weekend and our first home meet of the season!

(Josh Willman is in his 18th year as head coach of the UNH women’s swimming and diving team. He was also an assistant coach with the program for one season.)

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