Courtesy: Kentucky Athletics
LEXINGTON, Ky. – In the season leading up to the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, the University of Kentucky swimming and diving program has produced a schedule that is both advantageous and competitive, highlighted by six home meets, including the NCAA Zone C Diving Championships.
“Last season, we set our focus on being an elite program, and I think we need an elite schedule to compliment our growth,” said head coach Lars Jorgensen. “For the 2019-20 season, we have scheduled meets against some of the nation’s top programs. Of note, it will be the first time we have ever hosted NC State, Indiana is annually a great program and we’ll take a trip back to the site of the 2019 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Championships to compete against the University of Texas.
“There are many great teams on our 2019-20 schedule that we’re excited about. Our goal, as always, is to increase the level of competition that we face so that we are mentally and physically equipped for the NCAA Championships in March.”
This season, the UK men will face a profound six teams who finished in the top 15 at the 2019 NCAA Championships in No. 2 Texas, No. 3 Indiana, No. 4 NC State, No. 5 Louisville, No. 9 Ohio State and No. 11 Missouri. The UK women will face eight teams who finished in the top 25 at last season’s national meet – four of them finished in the top 10 – in No. 4 Louisville, No. 5 Texas, No. 7 NC State, No. 9 Indiana, No. 19 Arkansas, No. 21 South Carolina, No. 22 Missouri and No. 25 Ohio State.
The annual intrasquad meet will inaugurate the new season, hosted on Sept. 27 at the Lancaster Aquatic Center. It is traditionally one of the most spirited meets the program hosts, as the coaching staff temporarily splits the program into men’s and women’s blue and white squads for a first-look scrimmage.
Following the annual intrasquad meet, the program will host two straight tri meets to formally kick off dual-meet schedule. In a midweek contest, Kentucky will host Indiana and Notre Dame on Oct. 9. Just nine days later, South Carolina and Ohio travel to Lexington on Oct. 18.
Last season, UK met three out of four of those programs during the dual season, having not faced Ohio in the regular season since prior to 2004. Former University of Kentucky associate head coach Mason Norman (2013-2018) enters his second season as the head coach of the Bobcat program.
Returning to the site of the 2019 NCAA Men’s and Women’s NCAA Championships at the Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center, Kentucky will compete against Texas in a dual meet on Oct. 25. Historically a perennial swim and dive program, both of Texas’ teams finished in the top five at last season’s national meet. There, the UK men finished 25th, the women finished 15th, en route to collecting a combined 26 All-America honors and six podium finishes.
Back in Lexington, the Wildcats will host Missouri, NC State and Arkansas for a quad meet Nov. 7-8, before its mid-season taper at the Ohio State Invitational Nov. 21-23. The Invitational historically hosts a surplus of 15 teams at the meet. Those teams are undecided at this time.
Through December, the men’s and women’s swimming teams will take part in winter training. Select swimmers will compete in the annual USA Swimming Winter Nationals meet in Atlanta, Dec. 4-7. Meanwhile, UK divers will compete in the Miami Diving Invitational Dec. 6-7 in Oxford, Ohio, for the second straight season.
Three dual meets remain on the schedule ahead of the demanding postseason. Returning to competition after winter training, the Wildcats will trek north once again to square off against Ohio State, Jan. 3-4. The annual meeting between Kentucky and Louisville is hosted up the road at the Ralph Wright Natatoriun in Louisville on Jan. 25.
Ending the elite regular-season schedule, UK will host Cincinnati for Senior Day on Jan. 31. Pegged as one of Kentucky’s winningest classes in program history, 14 swimmers and divers are scheduled to graduate from the program in 2020.
This season, the 2020 Southeastern Conference Championships is hosted by Auburn, and it will run Feb. 18 through Feb. 21. The women’s team will contest for its third top-three finish in four seasons at the league meet, while the men’s team has improved in points and team standings in each of the last three seasons.
Returning to the Lancaster Aquatic Center for the first time since 2006, the NCAA Zone C Diving Championships will be hosted March 12-14. More information on parking, tickets and the schedule for the diving event will be provided closer to time. It is the lone chance for divers to earn a bid to the NCAA Championships.
Different from in 2019, the 2020 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Championships sites are at separate locations. Hosted by Georgia, the site of the 2019 SEC Championships, the women’s national meet is March 18-21 at the Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens, Georgia. The men’s championships is hosted by IUPUI March 25-28 at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis – the site of the 2019 NCAA Zone C Diving Championships.
The full schedule for the 2019-20 season can be found here.
Throughout the season and in the summer of 2020, UK swimmers will be competing in long-course meter events, too, in hopes of achieving U.S. Olympic Team Trial times. The sole shot for swimmers to achieve their Olympic dreams, the U.S. Olympic Team Trials begins June, 21, 2020 in Omaha, Nebraska.
Sept. 27 – Blue vs. White Meet – Lexington, Kentucky
Oct. 9 – Indiana, Notre Dame – Lexington, Kentucky
Oct. 18 – South Carolina, Ohio – Lexington, Kentucky
Oct. 25 – at Texas – Austin, Texas
Nov. 7-8 – Missouri, NC State, Arkansas – Lexington, Kentucky
Nov. 21-23 – Ohio State Invitational – Columbus, Ohio
Dec. 4-7 – USA Swimming Winter Nationals – Atlanta
Dec. 6-7 – Miami Diving Invitational – Oxford, Ohio
Jan. 3-4 – at Ohio State – Columbus, Ohio
Jan. 25 – at Louisville – Louisville, Kentucky
Feb. 14-15 – Ohio State First Chance – Columbus, Ohio
Feb. 18-20 – SEC Championships – Auburn, Alabama