By Melissa Maykut
OXFORD, Ohio - Coming off a win against the Cincinnati Bearcats Jan. 11, Miami University's women's swimming and diving team will compete in its first home meets of the new year this weekend.
Part one of this weekend's action will take place at 4 p.m. Friday when the RedHawks face off against the Akron Zips. The women's team will return to the water at 2 p.m. Sunday to compete in a coed dual meet with the men's team versus the Buffalo Bulls.
Head coach Dave Jennings and his team were unstoppable last weekend against the Bearcats, totaling nine first-place finishes to win the meet, 172-128. Senior Bekka Westrick remained undeterred, winning the 100 butterfly and 50 freestyle events, then earning another first-place finish in
the 400 freestyle relay with seniors Maddie Kete and Ellen Barhorst, and junior Cynthia Donovan.
"Bekka's just on fire, " Jennings said. "She's swimming very well, very confident right now. I'm pretty excited to see what she will do at the MAC Championships at the end of February."
While the upperclassmen dominated the meet for Miami with Leah Thornton's 100 backstroke win and Nikki Craft's sweep in the one- and three-meter diving events, freshman Aubrey Kluth swam an impressive, personal-best time in the 1000 freestyle (10:18.80), winning the event for the RedHawks.
Now back in their home pool, the RedHawks will look to increase their record to 8-1-0 against the Zips Friday afternoon. Akron is coming off a tough 171-122 loss against Oakland and will look for its first win of 2013 against Miami.
When the RedHawks travelled to Akron last season, Miami took 13 of the 14 events, winning the meet by a score of 179-116. With his team staying healthy and swimming well, Jennings is looking forward to seeing some
good races against the Zips.
The women's team will have a short breather before returning to the Nixon Aquatic Center Sunday to race with the men's team against Buffalo.
The women's team did not meet Buffalo in 2011-12 until the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championships where Miami finished third, two spots above the Bulls who finished fifth.
The Buffalo women's team won its last meet against Niagara on Jan. 12, 139-96, and will compete against Bowling Green and Michigan State Saturday before travelling to Oxford for Sunday's meet.
Jennings is excited to see how Westrick and Kete match up against Buffalo's senior Brittney Kuras, one of the best swimmers in the conference.
There is no admission charge for this weekend's swimming and diving competitions inside Miami's Recreation Center.