Swimmers set to race at Big Ten Quad meet

By Courtney Linehan

Sue Novitsky has one more chance to see her team perform before the biggest meet of the year, and she’s not letting the opportunity go to waste.

Later today and Saturday, swimming and diving compete at the Big Ten Quad meet, their last meet before the Big Ten Championships Feb. 16-19.

And even though the team has been competing since October, Novitsky is still unsure what kind of performances she will see.

“It’s a chance to get one last shot of racing in before Big Tens,” she said. “The coaches go into this meet and aren’t sure what we’re going to get time-wise.”

The Illini (4-5, 1-3) do have an idea what they’ll get in terms of competition. All three teams they face have been ranked at some point this season – Wisconsin is currently No. 8, Purdue holds the No. 21 slot and Minnesota has dipped in and out of the polls.

Wisconsin comes into the meet well-rested, having last competed in Hawaii Jan. 7-9 when they topped Texas A&M; 83-55, Hawaii 81-59 and South Dakota 124-16. Junior breaststroker Anna Trinidad led the Badgers with three victories in Hawaii.

Purdue suffered a tough 157-141 loss to Indiana last Saturday, and is looking to make up for the defeat this weekend.

The Gophers topped Ohio State and Michigan State in a double dual last weekend. They are led by junior Bridget McCoy, who swept the breaststroke events, finishing the 100 in 1:05.50 and the 200 in 2:22.52.

While there are four teams competing at Purdue this weekend, the event is set up like a pair of dual meets, with two teams facing off at a time. The Illini swim Friday night and again Saturday morning.

“It’s another dual meet and it’s an opportunity for us to swim against each other,” Novitsky said.

Another benefit of the meet is that it is being held at the same pool where the NCAA championships will be held March 17-19.

While some of the short-distance swimmers have begun to taper in preparation for the Big Ten Championships, Novitsky is still keeping the intensity high.

“We wanted to keep the momentum going for us,” she said.