Yesterday, about half of the Emory swimming team traveled to Oxford, Ohio to compete in the 20th Annual Miami Invitational. The meet will continue until Saturday.

The competition will likely be the strongest Emory has faced this season, women’s team captain Kylie McKenzie said.

Unlike the previous dual meets, competitions in which two teams compete, this meet includes the fastest swimmers from eight teams. It is also broken into preliminary races and finals.

Emory is one of only two Division III teams competing in the meet. There are five Division I teams and there is one Division II team.

Nonetheless, Emory has been successful against this type of competition in the past. The men’s team won the meet last year and the women’s team finished second.

The Eagles are prepared this year as well, but the team is most focused on using this meet to improve.

“The goal isn’t to win, but to get ready for the next semester,” Emory Head Coach Jon Howell said.

The meet also helps prepare the team for the fast swimmers they will face in the second semester.

“It’s a good opportunity to get up and race and practice racing, but it’s not the last meet of the season, so we can have some fun with it,” McKenzie said.

Because swimming against fast swimmers causes you to swim faster, this is a good meet for making cut times for Nationals. Emory men’s captain Ross Spock said he expects at least half of the Emory swimmers there to qualify.

The entire team did not go to Ohio because the coaches decided that interrupting some swimmers’ training would have been counterproductive, Howell said.

The other D-III team attending, Denison University (Ohio), is a rival of Emory. “We always run into them at Nationals,” Spock said.

The Emory team swims against almost all Division I teams until the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships in February and the D-III NCAA Championships in March.

Howell feels completely confident putting his team against bigger Division I schools. When he recruits, he looks for kids who want the best of the athletic world without taking a step back academically.

“This group is every bit as competitive as Division I athletes are,” he said.

– By Zak Hudak 

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