The University of Nebraska Omaha Swim and Dive team hasn’t been afraid of a little competition this year.
While the Mavericks’ record does stand at 3-5 this year, the quality of the teams that Omaha has faced cannot be overstated.
Over the course of this season, the Mavericks have competed against programs such as Air Force, Iowa State and Northern Iowa. In addition to those matchups, the dive team has competed in a meet at the University of Iowa, while the swim was able to compete in a meet hosted by Kansas University.
All of these competitions have given the Mavericks the opportunity to test themselves against tougher non-conference opponents. The results (while not always victories) seem to be giving the team confidence.
“Seeing that we were able to hold our own against these Big 10 and Big 12 schools and that we’re not just this little D-1 program anymore is definitely one of the biggest highlights of the year,” said Annika Clinton, a senior diver for Omaha.
This transition from a “little D-1” program to a more established program has been evident the past few seasons. Since 2016, the Mavericks have had four divers qualify for the NCAA championships. Before 2016, the program had never had anyone qualify before in Division 1.
Two of those four divers have qualified this year. In the first meet of the season, both Clinton and freshman Madeline Taylor finished with scores above 265, which qualified them for the end-of-season NCAA championships.
To end the regular season, the swim team will compete in one last meet in the Coyote Invitational in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Meanwhile, the dive team will head to Chicago for a meet hosted by the University of Illinois-Chicago.
After that, the Mavericks will switch their focus to the Summit League Championship, where they were runners-up to the University of Denver last season. Having been picked to finish second in the preseason and having a 2-1 record against Summit League opponents this season, the Mavericks should be confident that they can make another challenge for the title.
“For the rest of the season, as a team, we can hope to have a top finish at conference, because last season we finished second and that was incredible,” said Clinton.
After the Summit League tournament, Clinton and Taylor will head to the NCAA Zone Diving Championship. Clinton, who will be competing in her second straight NCAA championship, will be hoping that the Maverick divers can leave their mark on the tournament.
“Last year when we had qualifiers and went to Zones, it was just kind of to see how we’ll do and have a fun meet. This year we want to go and actually make an impact, because I know that we have the capability to hold our own against anyone we go against,” Clinton stated.
The team heads to South Dakota for the Coyote Invitational on Feb. 1 and 2.