Swimmers, divers look to make splash

By Meghan Montemurro

After a successful weekend against Oakland University and Michigan State University, the Illinois women’s swimming and diving team looks to continue their success at this weekend’s meet against Illinois State University in Normal. With a younger team this year, the freshmen significantly contributed to the wins last weekend and look to continue to do so again against the Redbirds.

“It’s really going to help the team out,” head coach Sue Novitsky said. “Our freshmen had a great weekend. They really stepped up.”

The performance of the freshmen has helped to add some important depth to the squad. Freshman Jen Ivarson had the tenth-fastest time in school history in the 200-yard butterfly. Sophomore Marissa Clapp had a career-best time in the 200-yard butterfly and was named Big Ten Swimmer of the Week following her seven first-place finishes in eight races. Freshman Amy Johnson also had a career-best finish in the 100-yard breaststroke against Oakland.

With two victories over the weekend, the Illini achieved their expectations. Novitsky said that the meets were good measurements in seeing what next steps are needed training-wise and the adjustments with the lineups that may be made for future meets.

Novitsky said she is happy with how the divers performed and improved from the Oakland meet to the Michigan State meet.

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“We need to be keeping consistent with our competition and how we are racing and competing overall throughout the meet,” Novitsky said.

This weekend she may look to shake up the lineup and take the younger swimmers to the meet against Illinois State in hopes of putting them in the position to step it up and not rely on the veteran swimmers. The coach said certain areas of the team are ahead of where they have been in the past few years, which can be attributed to depth and added personnel.

“We are in a pretty good position right now,” Novitsky said. “We are working towards competing well and swimming fast at the end of the year.”