LAS CRUCES, N.M. – New Mexico State swimming and diving head coach Rick Pratt has released the schedule for the upcoming 2014-15 campaign which is highlighted by five home meets, four conference opponents, a 50-year anniversary celebration and a rare two-day dual meet at the NM State Natatorium against the Aggies’ I-25 rival.
Aggie fans will get a month full of swimming and diving in Las Cruces as NM State begins the season with four-straight home meets in October including the Crimson and White meet (Oct. 3), an Alumni meet (Oct. 4), a dual meet versus Grand Canyon (Oct. 11) and a dual meet versus CSU-Pueblo (Oct. 25).
“I am very excited about this schedule,” Pratt said. “It provides us with many challenges and opportunities. Starting with a couple of meets at home will be positive, and facing a very good Grand Canyon team to start will be a great experience.”
As usual, the season begins with the Annual Crimson and White meet, but this season the intrasquad meet will be moved to Friday to make room for an Alumni meet on Saturday. This will be the third time that Pratt has added an Alumni meet (2007, 2012) that pits former Aggie swimmers versus current ones.
This one, however, will be different in that the Alumni meet will be a celebration of 50 years of swimming at NM State. Although the women’s swimming program did not come until a few years later, the men’s swimming program began in 1964.
“To have it where they (the alumni) can watch the intrasquad meet on Friday and then compete with us on Saturday will be a fun time,” Pratt said.
The Aggies then kick off the dual-meet season by hosting Western Athletic Conference member Grand Canyon. It will be the only time a WAC member comes to the NM State Natatorium this season. NM State concludes a busy October with a home matchup versus a CSU-Pueblo program that will be in its first year of existence.
Beginning with the Crimson and White meet and the Alumni meet, Pratt emphasizes more back-to-back swims in order to more strongly prepare the team for the tournament-style WAC Championships. This is the case during the Aggies’ first road trip as well, which will feature three dual meets in three-consecutive days.
The trip begins with a dual meet versus Mountain West Conference member Wyoming (Nov. 6). The trip to Wyoming will be a homecoming for NM State diving coach Kyle Bogner who was a MWC champion diver for the Cowboys and still holds the school record in the 1-meter springboard. The Aggies then travel to WAC member Northern Colorado the following day (Nov. 7) before meeting another MWC member, Colorado State (Nov. 8), to finish the trip.
November will also see the Aggie diving squad head to Tucson, Ariz., to compete in the Wildcat Diving Invitational (Nov. 21-23) hosted by one of the top teams in the country, Arizona. The Wildcats, like the Aggies, had three divers in the NCAA Zone Regional last season.
During the next couple of months, NM State will hit the road to face the two WAC members that finished ahead of them during the 2013 WAC Championships, defending WAC champion Northern Arizona (Dec. 6) and second-place finisher Idaho (Jan. 16).
The Aggie swimmers conclude the fall schedule with participation in the UNLV Winter Invitational (Dec. 13-15) in Las Vegas, Nev. This will be the sixth time NM State takes part in the meet, but the first since 2011. The Aggies finished third in 2011 and second the previous year.
“We have two meets at 7,000 feet above sea level and that should pose us with some great challenges,” Pratt said. “Heading back to UNLV for its winter invite will also provide us with that championship scenario.”
Like the divers, the swimmers will also face top-notch Arizona in Tucson (Jan. 2). The Wildcats had eight swimmers make the NCAA Championships last season. The divers, meanwhile, head back to the Air Force Diving Invitational in January (Jan. 30-31) for the second-straight season while the swimmers meet New Mexico.
In keeping the theme of preparing for the conference tournament, NM State concludes the home schedule with a special 2-for-1 dual meet versus in-state rival New Mexico (Jan. 30-31) which will be played out through two days, Friday and Senior Day Saturday.
“The UNM meet will be scored as one meet over two sessions, with part one on Friday then part two on Saturday,” Pratt said. “Back-to-back sessions are good in preparation for the WAC Championships, plus our swimmers get to compete in more events this way.”
The Aggies will try to break a two-meet losing streak to the Lobos as they lost in 2013 at home and last season in Albuquerque.
NM State concludes its season with the WAC Championships (Feb. 25-28), which once again will be held at the Palo Alto Aquatic Center in San Antonio, Texas. The NCAA Diving Zone Regionals will be held Mar. 5-7 and the NCAA Championships Mar. 19-21.
“Overall I like the balance that this schedule gives us,” Pratt said. “We're trying some new things which will give our team opportunities to learn a lot about ourselves and prepare us for the WAC Championships.”
The Aggies are coming off their best finish at the WAC Championships, third place, since 2010. NM State had two WAC champions last season, Terrin Seaver and Jessica Legge, and broke four school records at the conference tournament with Seaver breaking three swim records and Jaymee Porter breaking a diving record.
2014-15 Swimming and Diving Schedule (Home Meets in Bold)
Oct. 3 Crimson and White Meet
Oct. 4 Alumni Meet
Oct. 11 Grand Canyon University*
Oct. 25 CSU-Pueblo
Nov. 6 Wyoming
Nov. 7 Northern Colorado*
Nov. 8 Colorado State University
Nov. 21-23 Wildcat Invitational (divers only)
Dec. 6 Northern Arizona*
Dec. 13-15 UNLV Winter Invitational (swimmers only)
Jan. 2 University of Arizona
Jan. 16 Idaho*
Jan. 30-31 Air Force Diving Invitational (divers only)
Jan. 30 New Mexico (swimmers only)
Jan. 31 New Mexico (swimmers only)
Feb. 25-28 WAC Championships
Mar. 5-7 NCAA Diving Zone Regionals
Mar. 19-21 NCAA Championships
(*) Denotes WAC meet