Swimmers To Compete In Blue-Gold Meet This Saturday

San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State University swimming and diving program will stage its annual Blue-Gold Meet this Saturday, September 20, at The Aquatics Center on campus.

The swimming is scheduled to begin at approximately 9:30 a.m. The diving will take place during the week.

The Blue team, headed by assistant coach Chris Michelmore, will feature seniors Beste Erener and Lauren Mar, junior Ally Jack, sophomores, Rudie Guerrero, Ashley Krisman, Jo Thibodaux, Kirsten Trammell and Julie Wynn, and true freshmen Amy Friedhoff, Tomi Petty and Kristin Yamaguchi. Trammell, one of three tri-captains this season, will captain the Blue side.

Fourth-year head coach Sage Hopkins will direct the Spartan Gold, with another sophomore tri-captain, Ashley Ladd, serving as captain. The team includes Ladd, senior Katey Nelson, junior Hannah Tringham, sophomores Julia Koch, Caitlin Macky, Meghan McCurley, Jo Thibodaux and Daphne Yeung, redshirt freshmen Melissa Hymes and Linzy Warkentin, and true freshmen Heather Denman, Jessica Holden and Megan Mills.

The meet is expected to follow a standard 16-event collegiate dual meet format, but will not include the 1000-yard freestyle. The one-meter and three-meter diving events, with Holden and Hymes competing for the Gold and Thibodaux for the Blue, take place on Friday ahead of Saturday’s activity.

San Jose State began practice on the first day of the fall semester on Monday, August 25, with its usual routine of double sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and single morning practices on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The Spartans departed for Santa Cruz, Calif., for their annual team retreat on Friday, September 12, returning on the morning of Sunday, September 14.

Before that, the Spartans held an intrasquad meet at The Aquatics Center on Friday, September 5, following a pentathlon format. Each participant swam a timed 100 yards of each of the four strokes of freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly, as well as a 100-yard kick with a kick-board. Denman, a top first-year prospect out of Brookeville, Md., won the individual competition handily with a total time of 5:19.69. Behind her were Macky and Trammell in 5:32.58 and 5:34.28, respectively.

Asked to assess training thus far through three-plus weeks, Hopkins had this to say.

“We are having a great start to the season. The coaching staff and the team are very excited. We have always had tight-knit teams here, but we have undoubtedly the tightest knit team since I have been here in my four seasons. The swimmers are working without question much harder and swimming at a much higher level than they ever have at this point in the season.

“Frankly, they are currently approaching where we have been at the heaviest parts of the season (in past years), after only three weeks. The talent, drive and determination of this team are just unmatched. We’ve had great teams here, but this is just a truly special group. We have big goals and I’m very excited about chasing those goals this year.

“I am also thrilled with the progress our divers have been making over the past several weeks. They have put in a lot of hard work and are looking forward to beginning official competition at Stanford.”

San Jose State is nearing the start of the 2008-09 season, with the Spartans set to open a fourth straight campaign under Hopkins at perennial national power Stanford University. The dual meet is scheduled for a 2:00 p.m. start on Friday, October 3, at the Avery Aquatic Center on the Stanford campus.

The Spartans’ first of five home dates on the new season will take place on Saturday, November 1, when third-year Western Athletic Conference member Boise State University comes to town for an 11:00 a.m. dual that will include diving.

Hopkins has guided San Jose State to a program-best fourth-place finish at the WAC Championship in each of his three seasons at the helm. Tarolyn Robertson, who is not expected to be active for the Blue-Gold Meet, is the team’s third tri-captain alongside Ladd and Trammell, and with Erener, Mar and Nelson, one of four fourth-year seniors on the 2008-09 roster, all of whom are multiple All-WAC honorees.

The Spartans are currently working with a group of 22 swimmers, one tryout hopeful and three divers in Holden, Hymes and Thibodaux. Along with Michelmore, now in his third season with the program and first as the full-time assistant coach after serving two years in a volunteer capacity, Hopkins is joined on his staff by second-year diving coach Brian Tanner.