NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Richmond women's swimming & diving team was picked to win the Atlantic 10 Championship for the 11th time, according to the preseason poll conducted among the league's head coaches.
Richmond has won the last two Atlantic 10 Championships and 10 of the last 11.
Fordham, the only other team to win an Atlantic 10 Championship since the Spiders joined the league in 2001-02, was picked second. Massachusetts was tabbed third, La Salle fourth, followed by Duquesne, St. Bonaventure, George Washington, Rhode Island, Xavier, Saint Louis and A-10 newcomer Butler.
The Spiders graduated six seniors off a team that scored 751 points at last February's Championship. But Richmond returns a solid core of talent, led by captains Lauren Hines, Mina Vucic, Jessie Krebs and the Most Outstanding Performer of the 2012 Atlantic 10 Championship, Mali Kobelja.
Kobelja, who was the 2012 Atlantic 10 Female Student-Athlete of the Year, earned Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week honors Tuesday after opening the 2012-13 season this weekend with two individual victoires and two relay wins.
The Spiders received contributions from several freshmen in their season-opening meet, which saw Richmond defeat UNCW 115.5-47.5 and get edged by Old Dominon 82-81. Freshman Erica Elias won both the 1-meter and 3-meter dives, freshman Kelley Yang was runner-up in two events and frosh Natalya Ares finished second in the 200 freestyle and third in the 100 backstroke.
Richmond returns to action next Friday at William & Mary at 6 p.m.