In Nebraska swimming’s first team action at the Devaney Center of the 2021 season, Cream beat Scarlet 126-121 in the team’s annual Scarlet vs. Cream intrasquad meet.
Head coach Pablo Morales, entering his 21st season encouraged by the results of the intrasquad meet, and with high hopes for the season to come.
“Finalizing our class, we knew that there was a potential there if we can put it all together with our training and coming together as a team that this thing will take off,” Morales said after the meet.
Kicking off the meet, Cream took the 200 short-course meter medley relay with an unofficial time of 1:57.32. Representing Cream was senior captain Madesyn Ronquillio who swam backstroke, sophomore Ella Stein swimming breaststroke, freshman Milica Opacic swimming butterfly and ending the race with freestyle was junior Emily Haimes.
The energy was high between the team all meet and was felt during the relay, indicative, at least according to Morales, of what the meet means to the Huskers..
“Today was indicative of the hopes and excitement with our program right now because this is our first competition of the year and our girls are treating it like the big tens,” Morales said.
Cream came out with the hot start, winning the next two out of three events before the first stoppage for diving. The second to last even before the stoppage included junior Berkeley Livingston, who took heat one of the 200 short course meter individual medley with an unofficial time of 2:21.80, while freshman Madison Lloyd took heat two with an unofficial time of 2:25.40.
After diving was done, the action continued and Scarlet took the next two events. However, Cream was just too much to handle as its senior captain Audrey Coffey edged out Scarlets’ freshman in the 400 short course meter freestyle with an unofficial time of 4:26.10 and 4:26.62 respectively.
Scarlet would not back down as it tried for a last event comeback, taking the 200 short course meter freestyle relay in an unofficial time of 1:49.17 with sophomore Gabby Donahue, senior Shannon Stott, freshman Beatriz Padron and junior Kimberly Lanaghen swimming for Scarlet.
Team captains Ronquillio, Coffey, senior Autumn Haebig and redshirt senior Rachel Powers look to lead a talented lineup of swimmers to try and build on the type of season that the Huskers were able to accomplish last year.
“Those [accomplishments from last year] will always be there but if we can build a challenging but fun and unified environment that will be our goal for this season,” Morales said.
Flipping over to the other pool in the Devaney Center, Husker diving is now headed by a new name, with Landon Marzullo taking over as head diving coach.
Morales has faith that Marzullo will draw from his past experiences, at Wisconsin and University of Nevada-Las Vegas, to carry on the rich diving tradition that the Huskers are known for.
“Our program seems to be blessed because we happened upon Landon, and Landon is a fantastic young diving coach with experience collegiately and has made an immediate impact whichever program he has been, whether it was Wisconsin or UNLV, he has made an immediate impact,” Morales said. “We are in a great position with Landon, he brings a really awesome enthusiasm,”
Marzullo, even in his first season with the Huskers, does not stray away from the ultimate goal of the divers helping out at the end of the season in a big way.
“Goal is for everyone to get to the big tens and score some points for the team. I know swimming wise we have a great squad and diving we lost one of our big ones so we want all of these girls to come together and score some points at the end,” Marzullo said.
With sides of the swim and dive team ready for the season to get underway, they now turn their focus to the season home opener Saturday Oct. 2 against South Dakota State.
“It means a lot, and you may not think that it means a whole lot with the rest of the season left to go, but the way the girls have started out to me it is reflective of the excitement and hopes and aspirations this year,” Morales said.