FILE PHOTO: MICHELLE LUBERTO/THE HOYA The swimming & diving team will attempt to beat Howard for the second year in a row.
The swimming & diving team will attempt to beat Howard for the second year in a row.

The Georgetown swimming and diving team will look to earn its first victory in a dual meet when the team faces Howard at Georgetown’s McCarthy Pool on Saturday, Dec. 6. The meet marks the Hoyas’ last competition of the calendar year and gives Georgetown the opportunity to beat its crosstown opponents for the second year in a row.

Last season, both of Georgetown’s teams defeated Howard, with the men earning a 123-78 victory while the women finished with a 135-58 win.

“Obviously I want a win. I want everyone to focus on what they are doing and improve on little things,” senior captain Jessica Gaudiosi said.

The Hoyas competed against several of the Bison swimmers during the annual Potomac Relays at American University in early October. The Georgetown women earned second-place finishes in the 500-yard freestyle relay, the 800 freestyle relay, the 2×500 freestyle relay and the 400 medley relay. The Hoyas placed third overall after 22 events with 161 points, while Howard finished last out of eight teams with 13 points.

Georgetown will also use this meet to build on its performance from last week’s Bucknell Invitational, where the women finished in third place overall with 861 points and the men finished in fourth place overall with 709.5 points.

Sophomore Katie Duncalf broke a program record at the meet with a time of 2:03.57 in the preliminary round of the women’s 200 backstroke before finishing eighth in the final.

“The Bucknell Invitational was certainly a big meet as we focus on our championships because that is where we will be performing best,” Head Coach James Holder said.

The Hoyas have their eyes on the bigger meets of the season, namely the Big East swimming and diving championships in February. For Georgetown, every meet is an opportunity to get additional experience and training in preparation for that meet.

“We are back to work now and we obviously want to swim all this weekend, but we’re more focused on the second portion of our season geared toward the Big East,” Holder said. “Not that we aren’t concerned about dual meets, but our focus is to get back to training and build up again to perform better than we did last weekend.”

Competing in a dual meet will give the Hoya freshmen another chance to gain more experience in their first season on the team. The freshmen have stood out and impressed fans all season, particularly against the University of Delaware in October, when Christine Ryan and Bailey Page each earned two victories, and Molly Fitzpatrick earned a victory in the 200 breaststroke.

“The freshmen are doing absolutely great. They have completely been integrated into the team and no one on the team is doubting what they can do, as they have proven themselves in practice,” Gaudiosi said.

In last week’s Bucknell Invitational, Page’s time of 1:51.05 in the 200 freestyle earned the Hoyas their first victory of the weekend.

In the Big East Quad Meet, Ryan finished fourth in the women’s 200 freestyle and freshman Edward Spinelli earned a fourth-place finish in the men’s 100 backstroke. Freshman Haley Owens earned a third-place finish for the Hoyas in the women’s 100 breaststroke. Other freshman standouts included the men’s duo of Daniel Ross and Samuel DeLise, who took second and third place in the 400 individual medley, respectively.

“We’ve known that our freshman have been strong and it’s been great to have them contribute as much as they have been,” Holder said. “I try not to talk about individuals too much because they’re all really contributing, but they’re definitely changing our team, which we knew was going to happen eventually. I think they are further along in their development than I anticipated at this point, but that’s a good thing and I’m happy where we are.”

Just as Georgetown is looking to earn its first dual meet victory this season, so is Howard, having lost both of its dual meets this season. The men’s team fell to Loyola 163-62 and Virginia Military Institute 132-72, while the women lost 135-71 and 166-59 in those respective meets.

In spite of their record in dual meets, the Bison still pose a challenge for the Hoyas. The 200 medley relay team of junior Ben Skelding, senior Darell Hungerford, sophomore Dante Williams and sophomore Ryan Pauling is a dangerous team. Senior Miles Hector is also a strong competitor in the 1650 freestyle.

The meet against the Bison is set to start at 1 p.m.

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