LAS CRUCES, N.M. – While many people took time off this week to ring in the new year, the New Mexico State women’s swimming and diving team took a road trip to Tucson, Ariz., and spent the week training in the desert in preparation for a three-way meet on Friday, Jan. 3, versus PAC-12 members Arizona and Oregon State.
The meet, hosted by the Wildcats, is scheduled for a 1 p.m. (MT) start at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center on the Arizona campus. Fellow Western Athletic Conference member, Northern Arizona, will also be part of the meet but will not compete against the Aggies. NM State is coming off a dual-meet loss, 129-171, to Northern Arizona and is 1-2 in dual meets this season.
The PAC-12 Network will be producing the event for television. The meet will air via tape-delay on Saturday, Jan. 4, beginning at 6 p.m. (MT) on the conference’s network. Fans in the Las Cruces area can find the PAC-12 Network on Comcast Cable channel 284, Time Warner Cable channel 327 and Dish Network channel 413 and hopper channel 406. Unfortunately, the PAC-12 Network is not available for DirecTV customers.
NM State head coach Rick Pratt and the Aggie team have been in Arizona since Sunday. Pratt decided to use the week as a little getaway for the team while still training in preparation for Friday’s meet.
Aggie swimmers have been training at the new Oro Valley Aquatic Center outside of Tucson. The facility, which opened in March, is one of the Arizona’s premier, competition-level swimming facilities and was named the 2013 Outstanding Facility of the Year by the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association. The NM State divers, meanwhile, put in some tower workouts at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center.
“This week is a mix of a training/competition trip, which is a great experience for the team,” Pratt said. “To train off campus has been a great experience, our team has no distractions and can really lean on each other through the hard work.”
The Aggies week in Arizona will conclude with what will be their most difficult meet of the season. The Arizona swimming and diving program is one of the top programs in the nation. The Wildcats are currently ranked 13th in the NCAA poll and sit at No. 8 in the collegeswimming.com power rankings. Arizona has a 4-1 dual meet record, with its only loss coming at the hands of USC, which is No. 6 and 2 respectively in the NCAA and collegesimming.com rankings.
“To race one of the best teams in the nation on Friday will be a great experience and one which our team appreciates,” Pratt said.
Oregon State, meanwhile, has a 1-4 dual meet record. All four of its losses, however, have come to teams ranked nationally in the top 25. The Beavers are coming off a dual-meet victory over WAC member Seattle.
Friday’s meet kicks off an active beginning to the 2014 year for NM State. The Aggies have a couple more dual meets in January before an invitational in Colorado at the end of the month.
“We have a busy month of January with four meets and each one is a great chance to prepare for the WAC Championships,” Pratt said. “I am really proud of this group and appreciate all the hard work they are putting into their season.”