Courtesy: Nova Southeastern Athletics
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Back-to-back conference champions Nova Southeastern men and women’s swimming have their eyes set on another banner year, beginning on Oct. 5 and 6 at the Shark Invitational.
Along with both sides earning the Sunshine State Conference crown for the second straight year last season, the women saw their highest ever NCAA Championship finish in program history, bringing home the bronze.
NSU suffered the loss of 17 swimmers from last year’s roster, but welcome 19 newcomers – 12 on the men’s side and nine on the women’s side, respectively.
“This year’s schedule is another test for our student-athletes against some of the best in the Sunshine State Conference, NCAA Div. II and beyond,” explained head coach Ben Hewitt. “We wanted to maintain the level of competition we saw throughout the year last season while creating a sense of balance for our team as well.”
For the third consecutive year, the Sharks will kick off their season hosting the Shark Invitational. The women finished in first place in 2017, more than 150 points ahead of the second-place finisher, Carson-Newman. The men placed fourth behind UIndy, Wingate and Carson-Newman.
“We are excited to continue holding our annual Shark Invitational, which successfully reinvented itself in the fall last year and this year will feature Florida Tech, University of West Florida, Lynn University and Keiser University,” added Hewitt. “Our dual meet lineup is once again fiercely competitive and each of these meets tend to bring out the best in both teams competing.”
Two weeks later on Oct. 20, Nova Southeastern will travel to Tampa to participate in their first dual meet against the host Spartans, while also kicking off conference competition. Continuing on the conference route, NSU will host a tri-meet with the Rollins Tars and the Lynn Fighting Knights on Saturday, Oct. 27.
The women’s team will follow with a matchup against Indian River State College and FIU on Nov. 2 in Fort Pierce, Fla. before both teams will travel to the Spartan Invitational, taking place on Dec. 15-18. Both the men and women’s teams came home with the silver from this competition last season.
Opening up 2019, the Sharks will host Carson Newman on Jan. 5. In 2017-18, the women finished ninth at the Div. II Championship while the men ended in 28th. On Jan. 12, NSU will host SSC rival Florida Southern before wrapping up the home schedule with a dual meet against Florida Tech on Jan. 19, which will also serve as Senior Day.
Finishing up the regular season, NSU will travel to West Palm Beach to swim against Keiser on Jan. 26.
“I believe our team will use this regular season schedule to prepare for, mentally and physically, to be at their best at the end of the year,” concluded Hewitt.
The Sharks will look to defend their back-to-back SSC titles when the 2019 conference meet runs from February 21 through February 24 in Clearwater, Fla. After the 2018 championships, the men’s team currently is tied with Florida Southern for the most in SSC history with four, while the women now hold the most all-time among league members with their four championship titles.
Beginning on March 13, NSU will then compete for the NCAA Division II National Championship in Indianapolis, Ind. To be eligible, the Sharks must hit the national qualifying standards, whether provisional or automatic in their events.