Newcomers set pace in swimming victory

By Meghan Montemurro

The Illinois women’s swimming and diving came away with the victory against Illinois State University Friday after winning fifteen of the sixteen events.

The Illini were led by reigning Big Ten Swimmer of the Week Marissa Clapp. The sophomore swimmer had three first place finishes that included the 200-meter breaststroke and the 200-meter individual medley, and the 200-meter medley relay in which she was the second leg.

Her performance in the breaststroke and medley were pool records.

Head Coach Sue Novitsky said Clapp’s performance was impressive.

“Marissa did really well. Her start this year has been terrific. She goes into practice every day and puts in the work and it carries over into the competition and meets.”

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

Fifteen of the 26 athletes in the meet for Illinois were newcomers, which Novitsky decided to do in order to give them an opportunity to get racing experience, as well as allow them to work on their leadership skills.

For some, this was their first opportunity to compete and contribute to the team this year.

Working on fundamentals has been important in keeping sharp while having it carry over from practice and into meets, which was a key component leading up to the meet against the Redbirds, Novitsky said.

Novitsky has stepped up the intensity of workouts in hopes of the swimmers racing better and faster while continuing to take steps forward so that by the end of the year the Illini can put a complete race together.

On Saturday, Illinois heads to Ohio State for an important conference meet. This will be Ohio State’s first meet of the year.

The Illini had a close meet against the Buckeyes in the Big Ten championships last year and Novitsky expects the same this time around.

“They have some very talented swimmers and I expect it to be close the entire way,” Novitsky said. “We’ll definitely have to step up our game and swim a lot faster than we have already.”

The divers are still improving with help from new diving coach Chris Waters, Novitsky said.

Despite the swimmers still getting use to Waters, the results have begun to show through as they have been competing well and showing improvement especially against Illinois State.

Novitsky is happy with where the team is at, especially health-wise, which was not the case last year. But, they need to continue to work on the little things and continue to get back into racing.

Novitsky said they have done an outstanding job and looks for them to continue to do so.

“They are very hard workers; they want to come in a do a great job and have the team be successful.”