Team expects strong opening
The UH swimming and diving team kicks off their season by competing against each other in the annual Red and White meet at 3 p.m. today at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center before traveling to Keller, Texas on Friday to race in the North Texas Relays.
UH head coach Mark Taylor has high expectations for Houston this year.
"Our dive team looks to be really solid, including… Olympic medalist Anastasia Pozdniakova," Taylor said.
Pozdniakova partnered with former Cougar Yulia Pakhalina to win the silver medal in women’s 3-meter synchronized springboard at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Taylor said Houston boasts an internationally experienced team as well as coaching staff.
"Jaime Lewis has national team experience, diving coach Jane Figueiredo coached at four out of the last five Olympics, I’ve coached internationally and Jarrod Marrs is one of the fastest breast stroke swimmers in U.S. history," he said.
On Saturday, members of the team will participate in the Race for the Cure, which benefits breast cancer awareness, to honor Jarrod Marrs’ mother, who died in 2004. Marrs, a volunteer assistant coach, is in his fifth year of coaching at UH and is a three-time U.S. individual national champion in the 100-meter breaststroke.
At the North Texas Relays, Houston will race against North Texas and Texas Christian University as well as Conference USA rival Southern Methodist, something senior captain Sasha Schwendenwein looks forward to.
"We really want to do great in conference," Schwendenwein said. "I think we have a chance to take on SMU for a change."
Assistant coach Jaime Lewis said the Cougars have shown diligence in practice both as individuals and as a team.
"This year we have a lot of girls who work hard and push themselves," Lewis said. "It is exciting and it is going to raise the bar for the whole team."