San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State University swimming and diving program has announced its 2008-09 season schedule.
The Spartans are set to open a fourth straight campaign under head coach Sage Hopkins at perennial national power Stanford this Friday, October 3. The dual meet is scheduled for a 2:00 p.m. start at the Avery Aquatic Center on the Stanford campus. The Cardinal finished third at last year’s NCAA Championships behind Arizona and Auburn.
The second weekend of regular-season activity will feature the much-anticipated debut of the Western Athletic Conference Shootout, with the first installment being hosted by New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, N.M., on Friday, October 10, and Saturday, October 11.
On the first day of the WAC Shootout, the Spartans will compete against non-conference opponents Air Force and Northern Colorado in a three-way dual. On day two, they will face off with conference foes Nevada, Northern Arizona and host New Mexico State in a four-way dual. The competition will appear on the Spartans’ record as five dual meets over a two-day period.
“We’ve got a great schedule set up,” remarked Hopkins. “As we always do, we are opening the season at Stanford, and that’s a great opportunity to get in and race against many of the better swimmers in the world to start things off.
“The next week, we’re thrilled that we are going to the first-ever WAC Shootout. It’s going to be at New Mexico State this year, and then subsequently will be at San Jose State (in 2009). It’s going to be a great chance for the WAC teams to go head-to-head in an early-season competition, and should be a good measuring point for where we stand against the conference at that early portion of the year.”
In a three-way dual in Santa Cruz, Calif., on Saturday, October 18, San Jose State will take on the host Banana Slugs of UC Santa Cruz, as well as WAC rival Fresno State, which is re-introducing its women’s swimming and diving program after a four-year hiatus. The Spartans and Bulldogs were previously fellow members of the WAC for eight seasons from 1996-2004.
The Spartans’ home opener, the first of five meets scheduled for The Aquatics Center this season, will take place on Saturday, November 1, when the second-newest member of the WAC, third-year program Boise State, visits for an 11:00 a.m. dual that will include diving.
The annual, highly-competitive Nike Cup will again be hosted by UC Irvine at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, Calif., Thursday through Saturday, November 20-22. With the swimmers there, the Spartan divers will head to Tucson, Ariz., for the Arizona Wildcat Diving Invitational, Friday through Sunday, November 21-23.
“We have Boise State coming on November 1. We have a great, friendly rivalry with them, and are always excited to compete against each other. The culmination of our fall season is with the swimmers going to the Nike Cup and the divers going to the Wildcat Diving Invite, so we’ve got another great fall season lined up.
“After that, we have UOP, which is always a great meet, coming to us. The two highlights of the remainder of the season would be Nevada coming here, which is definitely another great, friendly rivalry, and then the WAC Championship in late February.”
Pacific will mark San Jose State’s only December competition date, with a dual meet set for a 12:00 p.m. start at The Aquatics Center on Saturday, December 6. Last year on December 8, the Spartans and Tigers took part in a thriller in Stockton, Calif., with San Jose State topping UOP for the first time in known program history by just one point, 131-130, at the conclusion of the final relay event.
To begin the new calendar year, the Spartans head south for a dual meet with Cal State Bakersfield on Friday, January 2, before spending the weekend at the Ayres Hotel & Suites Invitational in Irvine, Calif.
One week later, on Saturday, January 10, the Spartans take on the host Aggies of UC Davis and Fresno State again in a three-way dual meet in Davis, Calif. A final regular-season road venture follows to nearby Cal State East Bay in Hayward, Calif., on Friday, January 16.
San Jose State concludes the regular-season portion of its schedule with a trio of dual meets against single opponents at The Aquatics Center. Cal State Bakersfield (1:00 p.m.) and WAC foes Nevada (1:00 p.m.) and Fresno State (12:00 p.m.) come to town on consecutive Saturday afternoons on January 24, January 31 and February 7, respectively. The Fresno State meet will serve as Senior Day for four Spartan seniors competing at their home venue for the final time.
The WAC Championship returns to San Antonio, Texas, and the Palo Alto College Natatorium in 2009, Wednesday through Saturday, February 25-28. The NCAA Zone E Diving Meet will take place in Austin, Texas, March 12-14, with the 2009 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships also set for Texas in College Station, March 19-21. Texas A&M University serves as the host at its own Student Recreation Center Natatorium.
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, with the Spartans looking to break into the top three in 2009. Tarolyn Robertson has been selected as a team captain alongside the sophomore duo of Ashley Ladd and Kirsten Trammell. Beste Erener, Lauren Mar and Katey Nelson, like Robertson, are fourth-year seniors. All are multiple All-WAC honorees.
The Spartan roster is currently made up of 22 swimmers and three divers in sophomore Jo Thibodaux, redshirt freshman Melissa Hymes and freshman newcomer Jessica Holden from Fair Oaks, Calif. Trammell and fellow sophomores Julia Koch, Caitlin Macky and Meghan McCurley, as well as juniors Ally Jack and Hannah Tringham are returning All-WAC performers. San Jose State also boasts another strong recruiting class with Heather Denman, Amy Friedhoff, Megan Mills, Tomi Petty and Kristin Yamaguchi new to the squad alongside Holden.
Hopkins is joined on his staff by Chris 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, and second-year diving coach Brian Tanner.