San Jose, Calif. - San Jose State University swimming and diving head coach Sage Hopkins has announced his program's 2009-10 schedule.
The Spartans are set to begin a fifth straight season under Hopkins at perennial national power Stanford on Friday, October 2. The dual meet is slated for a 2:00 p.m. start at the Avery Aquatic Center on the Stanford campus.
The opener will pit the teams with the two longest known dual-meet win streaks nationally in the NCAA Division I. Stanford was victorious in all 20 of its duals last season, beginning with a 170-102 decision over San Jose State on October 3. In fact, dating back to a 156-144 loss at Georgia on November 9, 2007, the Cardinal have won 25 consecutive dual meets, including 19 in a row against Pacific-10 Conference opposition. They have come out on top in 41 of their last 42 duals in all. The Cardinal finished third at last year's Pac-10 Championships and fourth behind Cal, Georgia and Arizona at the NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas.
Meanwhile, San Jose State will take a school-record 16-meet dual win streak into its opener up the freeway. The Spartans reeled off 16 straight triumphs following last year's defeat at Stanford, to finish with a program-best 16-1 dual-meet mark.
For a second consecutive year, San Jose State will follow up its traditional Stanford opener with the Western Athletic Conference Shootout. The Spartans host the two-day event in its second year of existence, at The Aquatics Center on campus. Meet activity, featuring a number of separate duals between the teams on hand, will commence at approximately 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 9, and 10:00 a.m. the next morning on Saturday, October 10. Squads expected to be present are WAC foes Boise State, Fresno State, Hawai'i, Nevada and New Mexico State, possibly alongside non-conference opponent UC Santa Cruz.
Last year in Las Cruces, N.M., with New Mexico State serving as the host of the inaugural WAC Shootout, San Jose State was the only team to come away unscathed with a perfect 5-0 mark, including its first defeat of Nevada since 1985.
On November 6-7, San Jose State's three divers, sophomore returner Jessica Holden, freshman newcomer Amy Kilby, and Alise Blackwell, a former standout performer for the Spartan gymnastics program who exhausted her four seasons of participation in that sport, but will use her final year of collegiate athletics eligibility for third-year diving coach Brian Tanner, travel south to Los Angeles, Calif., for the USC Trojan Diving Invitational.
The annual Nike Cup, San Jose State's number-one event for the fall portion of its schedule, will once again be held at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, Calif., this season, but with UC Irvine dropping its swimming and diving programs in July, UC San Diego takes over as the meet's host. The dates for this year's installment are Thursday through Saturday, November 19-21. The Spartans put together a program-best runner-up finish at the 2008 Nike Cup.
While the swimmers are in Long Beach, the Spartan divers will be in Tucson, Ariz., for the second year in a row, at the Arizona Wildcat Diving Invitational, November 20-22.
After taking a break for final exams and the holidays, the Spartans resume competition in the new calendar year with a dual meet at Hopkins' alma mater, Cal State Bakersfield, on Saturday, January 2, at 11:00 a.m., and an appearance at the University of San Diego Invitational the following day.
San Jose State then hosts straight dual meets in back-to-back weekends, first welcoming Cal State East Bay at noon on Saturday, January 9, before taking on the rival Aggies of UC Davis at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 17, when Blackwell and swimmers Erin Garcia and Hannah Tringham, both of them tri-captains for the new season, will be recognized on Senior Day at The Aquatics Center.
The Spartans return to the Hillman Aquatics Center in Bakersfield, Calif., to face the 'Runners a second time, as well as UC Santa Santa Cruz, in a double dual on Saturday, January 30, at 1:00 p.m.
San Jose State concludes the regular-season portion of its schedule with a dual meet at top WAC foe Fresno State at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 6. The Bulldogs will host their meets, three in all, at Clovis North High School in just their second year back as a swimming and diving program after a four-year hiatus, while their own on-campus aquatics facility is still under construction.
The WAC Championship returns to San Antonio, Texas, and the Palo Alto College Natatorium in 2010, Wednesday through Saturday, February 25-28. The NCAA Zone E Diving Meet is back for a second year in a row in Austin, Texas, March 12-14, with the 2010 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming and Diving Championships set for West Lafayette, Ind., March 18-20. Purdue University serves as the host at its own Boilermaker Aquatics Center.
Hopkins has guided San Jose State to a program-best fourth-place finish at the WAC Championship in each of his four seasons at the helm. Kirsten Trammell, now a junior, will be in her second season as a tri-captain, alongside Garcia and Tringham.
The Spartan roster is currently made up of 23 swimmers and three divers. Trammell and fellow juniors Rudie Guerrero, Julia Koch, Caitlin Macky and Meghan McCurley, as well as Tringham, are returning All-WAC performers. Heather Denman was a two-time gold medalist at last year's WAC Championship, sweeping the backstroke events on her way to five total medals and WAC Freshman of the Year distinction. Sophomore Amy Friedhoff was a two-time All-WAC honoree.
Hopkins is joined on his staff by Tanner and Chris Michelmore, now in his fourth season with the program and second as the full-time assistant coach.
"We're very excited about the team this year, and our schedule" said Hopkins. "We've got a couple of intrasquad meets to start things off in early September. Then we are opening at Stanford, as we've done in each of the years I've been here. The WAC Shootout is definitely one of the highlights of our fall. We had a great performance there last year, and we're looking to make another statement to the rest of the WAC about the improvement of our program.
"We're excited to get the divers down to the USC Trojan Invite. We've seen great progress in our diving program over the past several years, and we want to continue that. We've got the major competitions of the fall, the Nike Cup for the swimmers, and the Wildcat Diving Invite for the divers, both happening the weekend before Thanksgiving. Nike Cup is always a highlight for the swimmers for the fall season, as is the Wildcat Diving Invite for the divers.
"In terms of big meets coming up through the winter period, we've got a great rivalry with UC Davis, and have a building rivalry with Fresno State. Then we are really looking forward to setting our sights on a top-three finish at the WAC Championship, with our divers qualifying for the NCAA (Zone E) meet, and some of our swimmers qualifying for the NCAA Championships."