By Matt Bradshaw —
Swimming and diving made history last season at the 2018 NCAA Championships. The Louisville women finished a record-breaking fifth place and the men tied their best showing in program history at ninth.
This past week, head coach Arthur Albiero announced the 2018-19 schedule and it’s no cakewalk. The Cardinals will face multiple national powerhouses, including five programs that finished in the top-10 at the 2018 NCAAs.
Here’s a preview of what to expect this upcoming season and what you might have missed over the summer.
2018 Pan Pacific Championships
Seniors Mallory Comerford and Zach Harting, along with graduate student Kelsi Dahlia, stayed busy over the summer with the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, Japan.
The trio finished with a collective five medals and qualified for the 2019 World Championships.
Dahlia collected three silver medals, placing second in the 100 fly, 4 x 100 medley relay and 4 x 100 free relay.
Comerford joined her fellow Cardinal in the 4 x 100 free relay for the silver-medal performance. She also competed in the finals of the 100 free and 100 fly, placing fourth and fifth in the events.
Harting came from behind in the final 50 meters of the 200 fly and grabbed a bronze medal. His time of 1:55.05 was a lifetime-best and earned him a spot inside the top-10 of the world rankings.
Overall, the United States topped the standings in Tokyo with 447.5 points and 44 medals. Louisville’s Albiero coached the women to seven gold and 22 overall medals.
2018-19 Collegiate season
Before competing at the 2019 World Championships, Comerford, Harting and Dahlia will return to U of L and attempt to match one of the most successful seasons in program history.
The Cardinals bring back 18 members from last year’s postseason squad alongside 22 talented freshmen.
Comerford enters her senior year as one of the most dominant female athletes in Louisville sports. The Michican native has captured back-to-back NCAA titles in the 200 free and recorded the second fastest time in history last season.
Notable meets for the upcoming season include bouts against Texas A&M, Ohio State, Tennessee, Virginia and Indiana. Each of these elite programs posted top finishes at the 2018 NCAAs.
Here are important home/away meets during the 2018/19 schedule:
Oct. 6: Xavier at home.
Oct. 12-13: Texas A&M and Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.
Oct. 25: Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn.
Nov. 2-3: Virginia at home.
Jan. 25: Northwestern at home (senior day).
Jan. 26: UK in Lexington.
Feb. 16-17: Louisville invitational at home.
Feb. 20-23: Women’s ACC Championships.
Feb. 27 – Mar. 2: Men’s ACC Championships.
Mar. 20-23: Women’s NCAA Championships.
Mar. 27-30: Men’s NCAA Championships.
2019 World Championships
After their performances at the Pan Pacific Championships, Comerford, Harting and Dahlia qualified as three of the 111 members of the 2018-19 USA Swimming National Team.
Albiero and U of L assistant coaches Stephanie Junker, Vlad Polyakov and Chris Lindauer were also named to the team as coaches for the 2018-19 season.
With spots secured in the 2019 World Championships, the Cardinals will travel to Gwangju, South Korea from July 12-28 next summer.
Dahlia will race in the 50 and 100 fly, Comerford in the 100 free and Harting in the 200 fly.
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File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal