Courtesy: Pittsburgh Athletics
PITTSBURGH—The Pitt swimming & diving programs are set for their third meet in as many weekends as the Panthers return to Atlantic Coast Conference action with a matchup at Virginia on Saturday.
The Panthers (1-2, 0-2 ACC) will go head-to-head with the defending ACC champion Virginia women (4-2, 1-1 ACC) as well as the Cavaliers’ men (1-0, 0-0 ACC) at the Virginia Aquatic and Fitness Center in Charlottesville, Va., with diving set for 9 a.m. and swimming beginning at 12 p.m.
Pitt head coach John Hargis is looking forward to watching his team face Virginia, who enters Saturday’s meet ranked No. 10 nationally in the women’s poll and No. 15 in the men’s rankings.
“It’s always exciting to put our student-athletes against the best competition possible,” Hargis said. “Virginia has traditionally been one of the top teams in our conference; their women won the ACC last year. So this will be a great opportunity to challenge ourselves. We will need to be at our best Saturday.”
Diving coach Katie Hazelton also enters Saturday’s event with excitement, especially with the diving events for the dual meet set to have a unique format.
“We are mixing it up this weekend and competing on 1-meter springboard and 5-meter platform,” Hazelton said. “While this is not usual for a dual meet, it will be a great opportunity as we are preparing the divers for the 10-meter platform. This is our third meet in a row, so the athletes are tired, but they have been working hard in training on technique and mechanics. Virginia is a great team, so this meet will definitely challenge and push us.”
Pitt and Virginia have met each of the last two years in the regular season, with the Cavaliers having the edge both times.
This season, Pitt is coming off dominant dual meet victories over George Washington last Saturday at Trees Pool in the team’s first home meet of the season.
The Panthers are led by several student-athletes that have impressed early in the 2018-19 campaign.
On the men’s side, versatile juniors Eben Vorster and Samy Helmbacher have consistently won individual events with strong times, while sophomore freestyle sprinter Blaise Vera is posting the best times of his collegiate career. Freshman diver Nick Garberina also had a break-out performance in Pitt’s win over George Washington, winning on both boards.
For the Pitt women, junior Valerie Daigneault has won all six individual races she has competed in this season—each coming in separate events as well. Senior Rachel Brown is providing quality times and leadership for the team, while sophomore Camryn Forbes and freshmen Madison Nalls and Amy Read have also impressed amongst the newcomers.
Live results for Saturday’s Pitt-Virginia meet can be found here.