Swim team to see top teams in Columbus

By Alex Iniguez

The Illinois swimming and diving team will compete in its largest event of the season this weekend.

The team is headed to Columbus, Ohio, for the annual three-day Ohio State Swimming and Diving Invitational.

The event will be a tough test for the Illini, as the tournament features Bowling Green and Denver, along with tough Big Ten opponents Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State.

After a two-week break from competition, the team is ready to get back to work with a tough contest.

“We (had) a lot of time to train,” head coach Sue Novitsky said. “We’re still sloppy in a lot of areas. There are a lot of things we needed to tighten up turn work, and finishes are the little details that have hurt us.”

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    The Illini defeated Illinois State 172-128 in their last meet. But Novitsky said she knows that meet was merely a tuneup for this weekend’s tournament, which has a feel of a championship event.

    Ohio State hosts both the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament.

    “It is important, especially for the underclassmen, that they know what it takes to succeed at championship meets,” Novitsky said in a press release.

    “For us to be successful, we must be able to handle multiple swims on multiple days, and our training regimen prepares us for those circumstances.”

    The strict regimen should not be a problem for some of the team’s solid veteran swimmers.

    Junior Marissa Clapp has been in this position before and continues to have success this season. At Illinois State, Clapp set a pool record in the 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 2 minutes, 19 seconds.

    The Illini are looking to have a strong showing in Columbus, as the schedule only gets more difficult from there.

    The team will travel to South Bend, Ind., for a meet featuring Notre Dame, Indiana and Michigan, and then Iowa City, Iowa, for a meet against the Iowa Hawkeyes before entering the Big Ten Quad Duals at Purdue.