Swimmers prepare for tough competition at Texas meet

By Meghan Montemurro

The Illinois women’s swimming and diving team travels to Texas today for the Texas A&M; Reveille Invitational.

It will be the Illini’s first three-day meet of the year, involving preliminaries and finals.

Three of the top teams in the country will attend the meet: Texas A&M;, Michigan and Southern Methodist University.

In order to be successful this weekend, the Illini will look to focus on themselves and the team, head coach Sue Novitsky said.

“Some teams might be completely rested, some teams may be tired; everybody is going to be at different levels with training,” Novitsky said. “We need to continue to focus on ourselves and compete well.”

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With the high level of competition, Novitsky is less concerned with where Illinois places and more with how the team stays together responds each day with the unfamiliar format.

Novitsky also hopes to see some season-best times and scores this weekend for both the swimmers and divers.

Leading up to the meet, the Illini worked on improving speed and details, Novitsky said.

The new and different three-day format this weekend may affect the team overall.

The Illini’s large number of freshmen will face a challenge having to recharge each day, both mentally and physically.

“It’s easy to let down mentally because it’s draining going from session to session because that ends up taking its toll,” Novitsky said. “We want to go into each session being prepared and staying on top of the game.”

Novitsky will look to figure out the remaining question marks for her lineup since the events will be the same for the Big Ten Championships in February.

Some swimmers may end up doubling up their events in the hope that Novitsky can see how they finish in back-to-back races.

In relays, there will be plenty of opportunities for swimmers to race because there will be four relay events.

The Illini will look to get some of their support from the seasoned veterans over the three-day stretch.

Following the Invitational, the Illini have a month-long break from meets. Novitsky said they will use this time to continue to work on their training.

“We are going to go hard,” Novitsky said. “We will be training hard and working on our endurance training until February, when we start to rest for the Big Ten Championships.”