KINGSTON, R.I. - The Rams swimming and diving team begin the 2016-17 season with their "Pink Out" dual meet with La Salle this Saturday, Oct. 15, at 11 a.m. at the Tootell Aquatic Center.
- This Saturday marks the annual "Pink Out" meet hosted by Rhody. This meet is to raise awareness for breast cancer.
- This will be the seventh year in a row that the Rams have participated in a "Pink Out" meet. This will be the first time they participate in one with La Salle.
- This year, 1986 Rhode Island graduate, former member of the swimming and diving team and breast cancer survivor Susan Nasson will be in attendance for the meet. She will also talk to both teams at a luncheon at a meet later this season.
- Both teams will wear special pink swim caps during the meet.
- Fans are encouraged to support both teams by wearing the color pink.
- The Rams return 18 swimmers and divers from last year's seventh-place team in the Atlantic 10.
- This season, Rhody was voted to finish tied for eighth in the conference with La Salle in the preseason coaches poll.
- Seniors Carly DeLiberty, Kenna Melkonian and Bridget Whalen were named the team captains for the 2016-17 season by head coach Mick Westkott.
- "They (the captains), along with the other seniors, have set the tone for the program this year," said Westkott.
- Rhode Island will be relying on not only the seniors, but the other upperclassman as well for leadership this upcoming season.
- "The upperclassmen, and not just necessarily the seniors, have stepped it up," said Westkott. "The team last spring made a commitment to step it up. We've never trained this well."
New Faces on the Team
- Along with the returners, the swimming and diving team welcomed eight freshmen and one transfer this year.
- "We didn't know how the they were going to adjust to the college program," said Westkott on the incoming class. "But, they've come in and they've hit the ground running."
Rhode Island vs. La Salle
- Saturday's meet between the Rams and the Explorers will be the first time in each program's history that they face each other in a dual meet.
- La Salle finished just behind Rhode Island in eighth place at last season's Atlantic 10 Championship.
- The Explorers were voted tied for eighth with Rhode Island in the preseason coaches poll.
- "The test Saturday with La Salle is a big test because it's Atlantic 10 and they're a very comparable programs at this stage of the game," said Westkott. "We're really excited because we haven't swam against La Salle in a dual meet ever, so this is kind of an adventure into new territory."
Season Expectations From Westkott
"We're very pleased with the way the year has started. The response that this team has had so far has been really good and we're very optimistic, although we still have to develop. Historically, we have been a program that performs better at the end than we do at the beginning, but a lot of really good things have come along. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but we're very excited right now."