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Press Release: Mountaineers Open 2021 with Backyard Brawl

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (Jan. 12, 2021) – The West Virginia University men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams officially open the 2021 season on Jan. 13-14, with a two-day dual meet against Pitt.

On Wednesday, the men’s and women’s diving teams square off against the Panther divers at the Aquatic Center at Mylan Park in Morgantown, beginning at 10:30 a.m. ET. On Thursday, the men’s and women’s swimming teams travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to complete the season-opening meet at Pitt’s Trees Pool. The women’s competition begins at 11 a.m., with the men following at 3 p.m.

Wednesday’s diving action will be streamed live on Facebook.com/WVUSwimDive, while the swimming portion of the meet on Thursday will be available at ESPN.com/WATCH for the women’s meet and ESPN.com/WATCH for the men’s meet. Results from the competition can be found at WVUsports.comfollowing the conclusion of each session.

Additionally, in accordance with COVID-19 protocols, only essential meet operations personnel and families of the student-athletes and team staff will be permitted at the meets.

“The teams are excited to finally compete this year,” Mountaineer coach Vic Riggs said. “They’ve done an excellent job under very difficult circumstances and look forward to getting back to a bit of normalcy. To have our first meet against Pitt in the Backyard Brawl makes it even better. Having diving at home on Wednesday will create a great atmosphere for the start of the meet, and we’ll need to carry that up to Pittsburgh on Thursday.”

West Virginia’s last meeting with Pitt was in 2019-20 in Morgantown, with the men’s team coming away with a 179.5-120.5 victory, while the women were defeated, 175-125, by the visiting Panthers. Senior David Dixon and then-senior Morgan Bullock paced their respective teams, each collecting multiple victories against rival Pitt.

The Mountaineers’ first taste of competition in 2020-21 came in the form of a virtual dual scrimmage against Notre Dame on Nov. 6-7. The two teams swam and dove at their home facilities, then compared times and scores to get final results. The weekend was highlighted by sophomore Emily Haimes’ win in the 100 freestyle and senior Ryen Van Wyk’s win in the 50 free.

Riggs enters his 14th season at the helm of the WVU swimming and diving program in 2021. He led the men’s team to a 5-1 dual-meet record in 2019-20, while the women posted a 3-3 record last season.

Additionally, the Mountaineers welcome first-year diving coach, Karla Helder, to the team this season. Helder arrived at WVU in August, after previously serving as the diving coach at San Jose State, Buffalo and the University of California at Davis.

Press Release Courtesy of West Virginia University Athletics Communications

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