How UConn’s Return to the Big East Would Affect the Swimming Landscape

Various media outlets are reporting that the UConn huskies are on the verge of returning to the Big East Conference, in all sports besides football, and leaving the American Athletic Conference. Reportedly, a vote of approval is already in the books regarding the addition of UConn back to the Big East ranks, here’s a look at the impact it would have on the conference’s swimming landscape, which would expand, moving to six teams on the men’s side and seven on the women’s side.

Current Big East Women’s Swimming Teams

  • Villanova
  • Xavier
  • Georgetown
  • Seton Hall
  • Butler
  • Providence

Current Big East Men’s Swimming Teams

  •  Xavier
  • Georgetown
  • Seton Hall
  • Villanova
  • Providence

UConn was a member of the Big East until moving to the American Athletic Conference beginning with the 2013-14 school year. Four members of the old Big East lineup remain: Georgetown, Villanova, Providence and Seton Hall.

The Big East lineup prior to the conference realignment included:

  • Louisville (M & W)
  • Notre Dame (M & W)
  • Pittsburgh (M & W)
  • Villanova (M & W)
  • Rutgers (Women only)
  • Cincinnati (M & W)
  • Seton Hall (M & W)
  • Georgetown (M & W)
  • Providence (M & W)

In the history of the Big East, the Huskies men and women never finished in the top two, dating to 1980 (men) and 1983 (women). However, looking at the teams’ last five years in the conference, shows that UConn should be competitive with the current roster of teams in the league.

UConn Big East History (Men)

  • 2013 – 4th of 9 (Ahead of all current Big East members)
  • 2012 – 5th of 10 (Ahead of all current Big East members)
  • 2011 – 5th of 11 (Ahead of all current Big East members)
  • 2010 – 6th of 11 (Ahead of all current Big East members)
  • 2009 – 6th (Ahead of all current Big East members)

UConn Big East History (Women)

  • 2013 – 7th of 10 (behind just one current Big East member)
  • 2012 – 6th of 10 (behind just one current Big East member)
  • 2011 – 8th of 11 (behind just one current Big East member)
  • 2010 – 8th of 11 (behind just one current Big East member)
  • 2009 – 6th (ahead of all current Big East members)

The Husky women had one representative at the 2019 NCAA Championships: graduate student Monica Marcello (16th in 3 meter diving; 44th in 1 meter diving). No UConn men advanced to the NCAAs.

In American Athletic Conference action, the UConn men posted their highest ever AAC league finish and most points, placing third of four teams with 647 behind Cincinnati and East Carolina. Junior William Kearsey won the 50 free title and was runnerup in the 100 back and 100 free.

The women were fifth out of six teams in the league (466) behind Houston, Cincinnati, SMU and Tulane, although Marcello was AAC champion in 3-meter diving and runnerup in the 1 meter.

UConn Men in the AAC

2019 – 3rd of 4

  • 2018 – 4th of 4
  • 2017 – 4th of 4
  • 2016 – 4th of 4
  • 2015 – 3rd of 4
  • 2014 – 3rd of 4

UConn Women in the AAC

  • 2019 – 5th of 6
  • 2018 – 6th of 6
  • 2017 – 5th of 6
  • 2016 – 6th of 6
  • 2015 – 2nd of 6
  • 2014 – 4th of 6

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1 year ago

The bigger story here is the AAC being down to 3 teams. Conference realignments have done Men’s Swimming & Diving no favors.

Reply to  Coach
1 year ago

B12/AAC should combine conference meets. Or AAC could go to CCSA with all the teams who are conference orphans.

Reply to  deepsouthatl
1 year ago

Or combine with the MAC/MVC meet. That would make for a pretty competitive, solidly deep conference.

Reply to  deepsouthatl
1 year ago

I’ve said for a while that the CAA should combine with the Big East for swimming

B1G Daddy
1 year ago

I’ve attended the Men’s AAC meet the past two years. While it is no fault of anyone involved, it is an absolutely brutal Championship experience for any swimmer accustomed to peaking at Junior/Senior National meets or even emotional State meet settings. Four teams, a complete lack of passion and competition in the team race and very little “championship feel” in the environment. Frankly, the “House of Champions” event in November felt bigger than the AAC meet in February this year.

Conversely, the bar for UConn is lowered. Kids who placed 6th/7th in some freestyle events at AAC’s would’ve won the Big East title this year.

1 year ago

The teams that stayed in the Big East after the realignment in 2013 + Xavier have improved significantly since then. The conference is much faster now than what it used to be in 2014. However, I still think that Uconn will be the favorites to win on the men’s side once they join, while it seems like it would be a good battle between them and Villanova(who won the past 6 years) on the women’s side.

As for the AAC, I think that having only 3 teams compete is very deflating as regards to championship atmosphere. At least it’s more competitive than the Big 12 who doesn’t seem to care having only 3 teams.