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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The University of Virginia has announced its 2011-12 schedule for the Cavalier men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams. The UVa women will get the year started at the SMU Classic Oct. 21-22 in Dallas, Texas.

“We are looking forward to another good season,” Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino, now in his 34th season, said. “There are a couple of changes this year in terms of our dual meet schedule. It’s an Olympic year and we’ve gone a little bit lighter in terms of the number of competitions. We will train in a different manner – a lot more in long course than in other years.”

The Cavalier men return nine swimmers and the women welcome back five swimmers with NCAA Championships experience. In all, 22 letterwinners return for the men and 21 for the Virginia women.

Eight women will represent Virginia at the prestigious SMU Women’s Classic.

“It’s a unique scoring format with each school only bringing eight student-athletes,” Bernardino said of the event. “It’s been a long time since we have been down there so we are looking forward to going back and getting the season started there.”

Both teams will head north to Annapolis Oct. 28 to swim against the Naval Academy for the first dual meet of the season. A double dual meet with Big Ten foes Indiana and Penn State will be held Nov. 18-19 in University Park, Pa., and the Georgia Invitational will cap the fall semester Dec. 2-4 in Athens, Ga.

“Navy is an opponent and a friend that we really relish the opportunity to compete,” Bernardino continued. “They are one of the programs that is really on the rise and we are excited to have them on an annual basis. Indiana and Penn State are two powerful teams and last year it was an incredibly fast meet. The Georgia Invitational may be the best invitational in the nation and that promises to be as challenging a competition as there is anywhere in the country the first semester.”

After the divers take their turn in Athens at the Georgia Diving Invitational, Virginia will take to the road for three Atlantic Coast Conference dual meets at Virginia Tech (Jan. 11), Duke (Jan. 20) and North Carolina (Jan. 21).

“We are very excited to compete at Virginia Tech, site of the conference meet, and get in there and get a look at the (new) facility,” Bernardino said. “Duke is one of the fastest-improving teams in the ACC and of course North Carolina-Virginia, to me, is one of the greatest dual meets in the country. It is an intense rivalry but also with two teams that have great respect for one another.”

Following the road stint, the Cavaliers welcome Pittsburgh for their first home dual meet of the year on Jan. 28. The very next weekend (Feb. 4) Virginia will play host to NC State in the final ACC dual meet, which will also serve as senior day.

“Our only home meets of the season wrap up our dual meet schedule and leads us into championship season. It’s a schedule we know will challenge us and bring out the best in our student-athletes.”

Selected student-athletes will compete in the annual Maryland Invitational Feb. 10-11 before championship season officially begins.

The women’s ACC Championships and both men’s and women’s diving will be held Feb. 15-18 in Blacksburg, Va., with Virginia Tech serving as the host. The men’s conference meet is set for Feb. 22-25, also hosted by the Hokies.

The women’s NCAA Championships are slated for March 15-17 in Auburn, Ala., with the men’s NCAA Championships scheduled for March 22-24 in Federal Way, Wash.

2011-12 Virginia Swimming & Diving Schedule

Date(s) Opponent/Meet Location Time
Oct. 21-22 SMU Women’s Classic Dallas, Texas 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 Navy Annapolis, Md. 4 p.m.
Nov. 18-19 Indiana and Penn State University Park, Pa. 6 p.m./11 a.m.
Dec. 2-4 Georgia Invitational Athens, Ga. 9 a.m./5 p.m.
Jan. 3-5 Georgia Diving Invitational Athens, Ga. TBA
Jan. 11 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, Va. 6 p.m.
Jan. 20 Duke Durham, N.C. TBA
Jan. 21 North Carolina Chapel Hill, N.C. 12 p.m./3 p.m.
Jan. 28 Pittsburgh Charlottesville, Va. 11 a.m.
Feb. 4 NC State Charlottesville, Va. 11 a.m.
Feb. 10-11 Maryland Invitational College Park, Md. TBA
Feb. 15-18 Women’s ACC Championships Blacksburg, Va. 11 a.m./7 p.m.
Feb. 22-25 Men’s ACC Championships Blacksburg, Va. 11 a.m./7 p.m.
March 15-17 Women’s NCAA Championships Auburn, Ala. 11 a.m./7 p.m.
March 22-24 Men’s NCAA Championships Federal Way, Wash. 12 p.m./7 p.m.
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