Nevada-Las Vegas, the reigning Mountain West Conference champions, and Air Force will visit the University Recreation Center today and Saturday as the Horned Frog swimming and diving team will host its first two conference meets of the season.TCU has competed against top-ranked UNLV twice before as members of the Western Athletic Conference, head coach Richard Sybesma said. Each team won one meet.
Junior Erica Tate, who was named MWC Women’s Swimmer of the Week last week, said UNLV’s No. 1 ranking helps TCU gauge what to expect, but that the Rebels can’t take that approach as they don’t know the strengths of the Horned Frog recent H2O squad.
“(UNLV) is ranked first in the Mountain West,” Tate said. “We know that, but we’re like the underdogs. They don’t know what we have, but we kind of know where they are.”
Sybesma said that the team’s competitive nature and desire to improve with every swim should work to its advantage this weekend.
“This is one of the most competitive and hardest working teams I’ve ever worked with,” Sybesma said. “I’m loving this team. On Friday, I feel like we can race with (UNLV). I’m anxious to see how our team responds to swimming against the best in the conference. I think we’ll be there right to the end of the meet.”
He also said the swimmers are experienced, so in practices the team focuses on stroking and turning techniques to improve speed.
Saturday’s meet will be the first time TCU’s women’s team will face Air Force, but the men competed against them as part of the Early Bird Invitational on Oct. 22 at Colorado State. It was a commanding victory for the Horned Frogs, who outscored the Falcons 1,024.5-832.
Senior Teylor Arboleda said the results at CSU give him confidence that another win will come on Saturday.
“I think it’s going to help us because we are going to know how they perform and how they swim and how fast they go,” Arboleda said. “That’s like confidence; we’ve already swam (against Air Force) and got to know them. We have a basic (idea) of what kind of team they have.”
Sybesma said he believes Air Force will still be a strong competitor and cautions his team not to get overconfident.
“I think Air Force is going to be gunning for our men since we beat them at CSU,” he said. “We are pretty even teams. The best team will win that day.”
Tate said depth is a major factor in securing wins against both opponents this weekend.
“We have a lot of depth as far as how many people we can put in each event,” Tate said. “We can place different girls at different events and know that they’ll do well.”
The meets will consist of 16 events, including two diving competitions, one at the 1-meter height and one at the 3-meter height. The divers’ scores go into the final tally. Senior diver Kelly McCain was named men’s Mountain West Diver of the Week last week, while senior diver Kelly Seely received the honor for the women.
Arboleda said he is very excited about the conference opening.
“This is my last year, so I just want to do it,” Arboleda said.
The starting gun will go off at 2 p.m. today and at noon Saturday.