Nov. 20, 2013
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STORRS, Conn. – The University of Connecticut men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams travel to Blacksburg, V.A. this week to swim in the Virginia Tech Invitational, which starts Thursday and runs through Saturday.
The meet will be UConn’s fourth event this season and a good test for both squads as they return to competition for the first time in over ten days.
“It’s a tuneup for the conference meet, which will take place in late February,” Connecticut swimming head coach Bob Goldberg said. “It’s the same format as the conference championship, so it will give us some idea of where we are this season.”
The Huskies have performed well this year, and Goldberg looks forward to seeing how his teams compare to the other squads this week.
“I think we’ll swim pretty fast, but the competition there is stiff,” Goldberg said. “Virginia Tech and South Carolina are great teams, and William & Mary is also a solid team. We like going against fast teams where we can swim a lot and judge where we are midseason.”
The UConn men’s swimming and diving team has won each of its first three meets. They’ve been led by freshman Chris Girg, who has been outstanding. In the season opener against Army, Girg broke a 20-year-old Connecticut pool record, swimming the 500-yard freestyle event in 4:32.85.
Other swimmers that have paced the Huskies this season are junior Lachezar Shumkov in the breaststroke events and sophomore Jeff Magin in the backstroke events. Sophomore Mike Lennon and junior Sawyer Franz have also been some of Connecticut’s most consistent performers in the pool.
“Chris Girg has been a big surprise for us,” Goldberg said. “All the guys are really doing well for us right now.”
On the women’s side, freshman Christine Pedersen has led the way, winning several backstroke events in UConn’s first three meets. Junior Chinyere Pigot has been one of Connecticut’s most consistent swimmers, while many of the younger swimmers have performed well, including Sophie Nothnagle, who won the 200-yard butterfly in Connecticut’s last meet against Pennsylvania.
“Sophie Nothnagle has been better than we thought, which has been a pleasant surprise for us,” Goldberg said. “Overall, the girls have been really solid and the divers are competing very well too, led by Taryn Urbanus.”