DURHAM, N.H. - The 2013-14 University of New Hampshire women's swimming & diving team eagerly awaits the opportunity to defend its 2013 America East crown. UNH seeks to repeat conference titles, which it previously accomplished going back-to-back in the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Hailing from four different countries with a bona fide core of veterans and newcomers possessing great potential, the Wildcats strive to exceed last year's accolades.
Last season was another decorated season from the program, taking its fifth America East crown, setting six records and earning Swimmer of the Year in both America East and the ECAC. Additionally, the Wildcats were ranked as high as 19th in Division I en route to a record-setting 858-point performance at the conference championships. The 'Cats topped off a remarkable season by sending two student-athletes to the NCAA Championships at Indiana University. Representing UNH was America East Swimmer of the Year and ECAC co-Swimmer of the Year Jenni Roberts (Springvale, Maine) and ECAC co-Swimmer of the Year Katie Mann (Prince George, British Columbia). The pair performed admirably at the championships. Mann posted a personal best in the 200-yard individual medley, posting a time of 2:00.99. Roberts put forth strong performances in the three-day event.
This year's squad consists of five seniors, 10 juniors, one sophomore and four freshmen. Mann and Roberts highlight the squad this season for their junior and senior seasons respectively, seeking to build on last year's accolades. Alongside the duo, the Lauren McCandless (Macungie, Pa.) and Jenna Bull (Woodstock, New Brunswick) returns for their senior season. The defending champion and record holder in the 1,650-yard freestyle at the America East Championships, McCandless seeks to cap off an already decorated career. Bull was part of the record setting quartet, breaking the 800-yard freestyle relay time at the America East Championships, clocking in at 7:17.68.
The Wildcats welcome back for his 21st season head coach Josh Willman. The Miami (FL) graduate returns associate head coach Jarrod Zwirko for his sixth season and third year volunteer assistant coach Jared Felker. Spearheading the diving team this season, the staff welcomes Robin Kamil for her first year at New Hampshire. Collectively, the UNH swimming & diving coaches were bestowed America East Coach of the Year awards for the fourth consecutive year last season.
The Wildcats will compete against nine teams in dual meets this season as well as participating in the Terrier Invitational. UNH then moves onto the America East Championships, which are slated for a four-day event beginning Thursday, Feb. 13. The following week, individuals will have one more chance to qualify for the NCAA Championships at the ECAC Championships in a three-day meet starting Friday, Feb. 21. This year's NCAA women's swimming & diving championships takes place at the University Aquatic Center at the University of Minnesota from March 20-23.
Under the tutelage of Willman, New Hampshire has won five America East titles and two ECAC championships. In addition, Willman and his staff at UNH have earned 12 America East Coach of the Year titles and ECAC Coach of the Year three times. Individually, UNH swimmers have achieved 33 major conference awards including 21 Swimmers of the Year (16 America East and 5 ECAC), six America East Scholar-Athlete of the Year, four Rookie of the Year and two Senior High Point Coaches awards. During Willman's tenure, 342 swimmers have been crowned America East Champions and 103 have been named ECAC Champions. In total, Wildcat swimmers have broken over 242 school records, 90 America East records and 23 ECAC records.
New Hampshire begins its 2013-14 season on the road as the 'Cats take on Boston College. The dual meet is set for 2 p.m.