The ASU swim and dive program is traveling to California this weekend to take on both UCLA and USC.
The Sun Devils will take on the Bruins of UCLA at 1 p.m. on Friday and then will travel to USC to face the Trojans on Saturday.
“Really, it’s the second opportunity to compete for us, so (we’re) just looking to improve upon our first meet,” swim coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker said.
The No. 16 women’s swim team is coming off a deciding win against GCU and Washington State two weekends ago, and the men’s side is recovering from a tough loss.
Tierney-Walker said that until the team tests itself against the best in the country, ASU wouldn’t be sure on where it stands as a unit.
USC and UCLA are both considered as top swim programs in the country, ranked No. 1 and No. 15, respectively.
“I think obviously USC has got one of the best programs in the country — men and women,” Tierney-Walker said. “They have fantastic coaching.
“UCLA has the same thing on the women’s side so it should be a good early season contest for us. And it’s the first time we have had the back-to-back meets, so I’m looking forward to seeing how we respond on that.”
Both the women’s team and the men’s know the importance of approaching both competitions with equal intensity, Tierney-Walker said.
Tierney-Walker said that the ASU men’s team is a little thin due to the fact that junior Alex Coci is back home competing in the world championship trials.
She said Coci, along with some of the other swimmers would miss some time with ASU to compete with their home countries in the next couple of weeks.
“Those are pretty high-level meets, so those sort of take precedence over dual meets, and it prepares them to swim against the best people in the world,” she said.
Divers open season
The ASU divers will compete for the first time this season when they travel to California with the swim team.
Dive coach Mark Bradshaw said most of his divers haven’t competed for two or three months, so it’ll be a useful opportunity against strong conference foes like USC and UCLA.
The men’s dive team will be without Olympian Riley McCormick for what could be the whole season, Bradshaw said. McCormick needs surgery to repair ligament damage on his thumb.
Bradshaw said that he’s looking forward to seeing how senior Harrison Jones, who recently transferred to the team from USC, will step up and compete.
Losing McCormick will be tough, but Bradshaw is still confident in his small team of divers.
“On the women’s side, UCLA has got a couple of very (strong) female divers that should pose a good challenge for us, but I think we should out-point both UCLA and USC,” Bradshaw said.
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