Arkansas has released its 2019-2020 meet schedule, adding a couple more meets, and significantly increasing the toughness of their schedule versus last season. Dual meets versus Stanford, Auburn, Texas A&M, and a quad meet with Mizzou, NC State, and Kentucky highlight the Razorbacks’ schedule this year. Stanford, NC State, Auburn, Texas A&M, and Kentucky all finished in the top 15 at 2019 NCAAs.
This is a significant step up from Arkansas’ 2018-2019 schedule. Here is a comparison of their schedule this season versus last season:
|10/5||Arkansas Little Rock||@ Arkansas|
|11/7-11/8||Mizzou, Kentucky, NC State||@ Kentucky|
|11/20-11/23||Mizzou Invite||@ Mizzou|
|12/4||US Open||@ Atlanta, GA|
|12/10||US Winter Diving Nationals||@ TBA|
|1/3||Tennessee Diving Invite||@ Tennessee|
|1/18||Drury & Oklahoma Baptist||@ Arkansas|
|1/25||Texas A&M||@ Texas A&M|
|2/13||SEC Championships||@ Aubrun|
|2/24||NCAA Last Chance||@ Georgia|
|3/6||NCAA Zone Diving Champs||@ Texas A&M|
|3/14||NCAA Championships||@ Georgia|
|10/20||South Carolina||@ South Carolina|
|11/1-11/2||Kentucky & Mizzou||@ Mizzou|
|11/16||Texas Diving Invite||@ Texas|
|11/17-11/19||Missouri Invite||@ Mizzou|
|11/28-12/1||U.S. Winter Nationals||@ Greensboro, NC|
|12/18||World University Games Diving Qualifier||@ Atlanta, GA|
|1/4||Georgia Diving Invite||@ Georgia|
|1/12||Rice & SMU||@ Rice|
|2/19-2/22||SEC Championships||@ Georgia|
|3/3||NCAA Last Chance||@ Mizzou|
|3/20-3/23||NCAA Championships||@ Texas|
Here is a table showing the differences in dual meet opponents last year versus this year:
|2018-2019||2019 NCAA Finish||2019-2020||2019 NCAA Finish|
|Georgia||18th||Arkansas Little Rock||N/A|
**Drury and Oklahoma Baptist are NCAA Division II programs**
The difference in the difficulty of Arkansas’ schedule this year is stark. To start, the Razorbacks will be facing 2 more dual meet opponents than last year. Last year, they competed against 1 team that went on to finish in the top 20 at NCAAs, while this year they will see 5, all of which were top 15 teams last year. Arkansas will also go head-to-head with 2 of the top NCAA Division II programs, Drury and Oklahoma Baptist. Plus, both Mizzou and Kansas scored at NCAAs last year. The most notable addition to the schedule this year is that of the 3-time defending NCAA champions Stanford Cardinal, who also haven’t lost a dual meet in the past 4 seasons.
The Razorbacks have had what were essentially consecutive breakout seasons the past two years. In 2017-2018, Arkansas picked up then freshman Brooke Schultz, who went on to win the NCAA title in 3m diving at the 2018 NCAAs, and finish runner-up in in 2019. Then, the Razorbacks added up-and-coming British sprinter Anna Hopkin in the 2018-2019 season. Hopkin bloomed into one of the top sprinters in the NCAA, finishing 2nd in the 100 free (46.56) and 5th in the 50 free (21.51). Arkansas finished 19th at NCAAs last season, which was their first top 20 finish since 1988.Last season Arkansas pulled off a big win against Mizzou in a dual meet, also winning against Houston, Kansas, SMU, Rice, and Vanderbilt. The Razorbacks fell to Georgia, South Carolina, and Kentucky. Also in the 2018-2019 season, Arkansas finished 2nd at the Mizzou Invite (behind Mizzou), and were 8th at SECs, beating South Carolina. LSU, Alabama, and Vanderbilt.
Head Coach Neil Harper said of the schedule, “We are excited to have so many challenges on this year’s schedule. To compete against 5 of last year’s top-15 teams will be a great opportunity to see how far our program has come and how much further we have to go!” Harper went on to talk about what it means to the team to get to race so many top teams: “Obviously being able to compete against the defending national champions in Stanford is an opportunity not too many programs get. We will also go on the road to compete against defending SEC Champions Texas A&M, No. 7 NC State and No.15 Kentucky. These teams are some of the toughest dual meet teams in the country. Hosting No.12 Auburn at home will give our fans a great meet in Fayetteville to come support us.”
You can read Arkansas’ full release on the schedule here.