UAA Swimming and Diving Championships come to Cleveland

Peter Cooke, Sports Editor

Emory University continues to be the cream of the crop of the UAA: the women come off their second straight national championship and the men are fixed firmly in third in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America top 25, behind perennial top two Kenyon University and Denison University. However, anything can happen, as the swimming community learned last year when Denison knocked off Kenyon and broke the men’s 31-straight national championships, winning by the slimmest margin in NCAA history: one point. The final score: Denison 500.5, Kenyon 499.5.

On the men’s side, the contenders looking to knock off the Eagles are four-fold: No. 12 University of Chicago, No. 14 Case Western Reserve University, No. 15 Washington University, and No. 16 Carnegie Mellon University are all within five spots of each other in the top 25. Chicago, Washington and Carnegie Mellon all have premier athletes across the board, while Case will look to jump ahead from their fourth-place finish last year thanks to substantial quality depth.

Rounding out the conference are No. 20 New York University and No. 21 University of Rochester. New York and Rochester are at the bottom of the conference, but just barely – the two teams faced off with Case and Carnegie Mellon in October and fell in close meets. Rochester went 1-2, topping New York and losing to the Tartans and the Spartans. New York went winless but has since surged through the midseason, and now look to avenge their 20-point defeat at Rochester in the UAA Championships.

On the women’s side, No. 9 Chicago and No. 13 Washington have the best shot at taking home a conference title. Chicago had a sound thumping of the Bears in November, winning by 80 points. The Maroon will still have their work cut out for them against a team that topped them by over 800 points in last year’s championships, but the competition between the UAA’s most western teams will look to be as fierce as always.

The four teams fighting for that final spot in the top half of the conference on the women’s side are No. 17 Carnegie Mellon, No. 18 Rochester, No. 21 New York, and Case. The four mid-Atlantic teams all faced off in October and will have another tough rematch in Cleveland. Carnegie Mellon won comfortably but are still behind Chicago and Washington competitively. Rochester has improved immensely since their last-place finish in 2011, and the Yellowjackets have a serious shot at fourth place. The New York and Case women face an uphill battle. The Violet have a strong senior presence, but like Case they will have to rely on a large freshman class, eight for New York and seven for the Spartans, to step up if they want to make a strong impact.