Junior Aino Otava sets school record as Hurricanes dominate Vanderbilt, Iowa in Miami Invite

Junior Aino Otava swims breaststroke during the preliminary heats of the 400IM race on Friday Nov. 19 at the Norman Whitten Pool. Otava went on to swim a 4:17.31 Friday night, a school record, during the event finals.
Junior Aino Otava swims breaststroke during the preliminary heats of the 400IM race on Friday Nov. 19 at the Norman Whitten Pool. Otava went on to swim a 4:17.31 Friday night, a school record, during the event finals. Photo credit: Josh Halper

The Miami Hurricanes swim and dive team concluded its Miami Invite meet with victories against Iowa and Vanderbilt on Saturday at the Whitten Center Pool.

The Hurricanes (2-0) took on Iowa and Vanderbilt in Coral Gables from Thursday through Saturday, showcasing some impressive performances throughout the week.

After the first day, Miami led the three schools in first place with a winning time of 1:32.50 in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Individually, sophomore Emma Sundstrand finished first in the 200-yard IM with a 2:01.51 time, and redshirt sophomore Adrianna Cera won the 500-yard freestyle with a 4:48.12 time.

Coach Andy Kershaw appeared confident after the first day’s results.

“I’m excited because I saw them do what we asked them to do,” Kershaw said. “They’ve already done the training. Now we add the energy. That’s what they did. That’s the recipe. That’s our goal for this meet – to learn that and carry that forward with us to the rest of our meets throughout the year.”

Moving into Day 2, Miami applied their energy in a big way, as junior Aino Otava set the school record, swiftly completing a 400-yard IM in only 4:17.31.

“She’s been working hard throughout the season to find her rhythm and groove. She found it. I’m happy she got to see the result in the form of a time,” Kershaw said.

Amongst the other strong performers, redshirt senior Danika Huizinga helped the team grab a victory in the 200-yard medley relay while individually winning the 100-yard backstroke with a 54.93 time.

Despite some impressive performances, Kershaw still wanted better for his team heading into Day 3.

“This team has got some high standards. I’d say we’re doing pretty well, but there are some cases where some could have done even better – and that’s a credit to them,” Kershaw said.

Without letting up the momentum, the Canes completed the contest on Saturday with wins over Iowa and Vanderbilt.

“It was a very good last day. I think the last session was our best session, which speaks a lot to the courage of the team after a long week and long meet,” Kershaw said.

The Hurricanes received strong outings from Cera and Otava as the pairing delivered times of 16:44.51 and 16:45.71 respectively, doing so on the long 1,650-yard freestyle.

Later on, Huizinga captured the 200-yard backstroke (1:59.36) as senior Carmen San Nicolas (49.93) won the 100-yard freestyle.

To close out Saturday night, the Hurricanes quadruple team of San Nicolas, Cera, freshman Jacey Hinton and senior Sydney Knapp won the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:22.45).

“I’m very proud of them,” Kershaw said. “The team is very excited but I think has a great perspective and understand that this is just the middle of the year. It has put us in a great place to move forward.”

With the Miami Invite in the books, the Hurricanes will have ample time to prepare before they take on Georgia Tech and Northwestern in Atlanta on Dec. 18.