Swimmers, divers disappointed by Quad Results

By Courtney Linehan

Swimming and diving has competed in 11 road meets this season, and it’s taking its toll.

At the Big Ten Quad Meet, the Illini started slow. They finished Friday’s portion of the meet in fourth place behind conference opponents Minnesota, Wisconsin and Purdue.

“What I heard from a couple of them was that it was hard to get loose, warmed up,” said head coach Sue Novitsky.

The Illini competed in West Lafayette Friday evening after attending classes in the morning and traveling in the afternoon.

Although they’ve traveled heavily this season, the Illini still struggle with life on the road. Novitsky said sleeping in hotels and being away from home can be draining.

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“For us it’s sort of been a little cumulative, like ‘Here we go again.’ The novelty of it has worn off.”

The highlight of the first day of competition was senior Kirsten Koepcke’s victory in the 1000 free.

Koepcke touched the wall 25.6 seconds ahead of the second-place winner, finishing the race in 9:00.8.

“We had some individuals who swam really well on Friday, just as a whole we didn’t quite put it together,” Novitsky said.

The Illini turned it around for Saturday, but could not overcome the effects of Friday’s slow start.

“Once we had our good night’s sleep and felt refreshed we were able to get in there and get going,” said sophomore Barbie Viney.

Viney topped the team for Illinois, taking first place in the 100 free and setting a new school record in 50.26 seconds.

“Back at home we had this thing where you’re supposed to drop a time the third time you swim it. I was happy because the two other times I swam that time were in relays.”

Viney earned two NCAA “B” cut times, in the 100 and 200 free events.

The divers also struggled at the meet. Diving coach Billy McGowan said the high-level of competition and the road-weariness hampered their performances.

“They did not perform well at all. They were flat. They just were a little bit star-struck, overwhelmed.”

McGowan said the Big Ten boasts some of the top divers in the nation, many of whom competed at the Quad meet.

“I think that was good because we got those nerves out of the way,” he said.

Despite the problems, Novitsky and McGowan both said the meet was good practice for the Big Ten Championships in two weeks.

“I think we’ll be fine coming into Big Tens,” Novitsky said. “We had traveled that day; you’ve got to balance out classes with when you leave and Purdue’s only an hour and half away. We’ll be plenty early for Big Tens.”