LEXINGTON, Ky. – First-year Kentucky head coach Lars Jorgensen and the UK swimming and diving team will face stiff competition in their 2013-14 campaign. The men square off against six different teams that finished in the top 20 at the NCAA Championships last season, while the women will compete against four such foes this year.
The Kentucky men finished No. 22 at NCAAs thanks to an impressive showing from junior diver Greg Ferrucci who earned all of Kentucky’s points at the championships with three fourth-place finishes. The women sent two competitors to the NCAA championships, but did not score in any of their events. The Wildcats return all four of their NCAA competitors from a year ago.
Kentucky’s schedule is annually difficult, and the 2013-14 is no different as the Wildcats face four Southeastern Conference rivals in dual-meet competition. They will get the SEC portion of the schedule underway immediately with a road meet in Athens, Ga., to take on the defending national champion women’s team and last year’s No. 10 men’s team on Sept. 25.
“We have a challenging schedule,” said Jorgensen. “We open up with Georgia who is the women’s national champions and they have a very good men’s program. Our focus meet is the SEC Championships, but we’re excited about swimming a challenging schedule and our two home meets with Ohio State and Cincinnati.”
The Wildcats will return home host the first of their two home meets in Lexington, Ky., this season when they host Ohio State. The Buckeyes boast two top-30 programs including the men’s squad that finished No. 12 last season.
From there, the Cats will be on the road up until the regular season finale, stopping first in Carbondale, Ill., to take on Southern Illinois and Missouri on Oct. 24 and 25. There, Ferrucci will go head to head with fellow All-American diver David Bonuchi. Both the UK men and women got a pair of victories last season against SIU but fell to the No. 14 Missouri men and women in Columbia, Mo.
On Nov. 1, UK will rekindle its rivalries with Tennessee and Indiana in Bloomington, Ind. Last year’s Indiana team boasted the nation’s No. 9 men and No. 11 women, while Tennessee’s women finished third in the country with the men finishing 16th.
In their first non-dual meet competition, Kentucky will meet Ohio State again with several other competitors in Columbus, Ohio, for the Ohio State Invitational Nov. 22-24. Kentucky then wraps up competition in 2013 at the USA AT&T Winter Nationals in Knoxville, Tenn., Dec. 5-7.
After the holiday break, action ramps back up on Jan. 3 with the Georgia Diving Invitational back in Athens, Ga., which runs through Jan. 5, while swimming action gets underway a week later on Jan. 11 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., against Alabama.
As the regular season winds down, UK goes out of conference for a road meet at rival Louisville on Jan. 25 and then finishes up the regular season with a Senior Day celebration when the Wildcats host Cincinnati on Feb. 1.
Postseason competition begins with the SEC Championships beginning on Feb. 18 and running through the 22nd hosted by UGA.
After SECs, preparation for the NCAA Championships begins with the Last Chance Qualifying meet, once again in Athens, Ga., slated for March 1. Divers will have their opportunity to qualify for the championships March 13-15 in the Zone Diving Championships in Columbus, Oh.
The women’s NCAA Championships will be held March 20-23 in Minneapolis, Minn., and the men’s championship is a week later, March 27-30 in Austin, Tex.