When you want to swim you want to swim

Illinois swimmer Marissa Clapp competes in the 200-meter breaststroke at the ARC pool Oct. 17. Illini faces the Illinois State Redbirds on Friday to defend their undefeated record. Erica Magda

Illinois swimmer Marissa Clapp competes in the 200-meter breaststroke at the ARC pool Oct. 17. Illini faces the Illinois State Redbirds on Friday to defend their undefeated record. Erica Magda

By Jessica Glade

With the swimming and diving season going strong, the Illini will be repeating one thought in their minds as they prepare for a meet at Illinois State on Friday – just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

While the team has a 3-0 record, Illinois has no intentions on backing down and coasting this season. Instead, the Orange and Blue intend to build on the wins and keep pushing forward.

“It’s pretty exciting so far,” junior diver Nikki Spillone said. “I think with the bigger team this year and the big freshman class that everyone is stepping up and trying to be leaders. It’s exciting because it motivates us to try and keep that streak going.”

Head coach Sue Novitsky finds the team’s success a positive note for the season ahead.

“It’s always nice to win and it does help morale and it reinforces the hard work they’ve put in with their training so far,” Novitsky said. “They’re able to see the little things take place with their racing and with their final times with their scores on the board. They’re seeing the improvement which is always nice, and to have the team win go along with that is just a bonus.”

And that is what the team is focused on now – taking that success and using it as a building block for future improvements.

“I think now is the point in the season you’re really focusing on the details and you’re giving 100 percent every day,” sophomore swimmer Meghan Mason said. “It’s that tired part of the season where there’s time to step back, you’ve gotta make sure you’re looking forward at all times instead of taking that step back and maybe letting yourself taking the easy way out you’ve always gotta make sure you’re working 100 percent every single day and working things that will show more predominantly in the end.”

The Illini will put that motivation and hard work to the test when they face the Redbirds on Friday. Like Illinois, Illinois State is also undefeated at 5-0. Not only is the team excited to fight to keep their undefeated record, but Novitsky is also seeing this meet as a great opportunity for the team to progress.

“I have some people in different events just because I haven’t had the opportunity to see them swim those this year, so we’re a little unknown in some areas,” Novitsky said. “They have 15 freshman this year so they have a lot of new people on their team too, and I think it could be close, and I expect some really tight races.”

When it is all said and done, the Illini are ready to compete.

“Both teams are going to go in with fire and ready to go and ready to compete to their fullest potential,” Mason said. “We’ve competed already against some tough teams. We’re all swim freaks here. We look at the results online usually through the year, and we’ve been looking and we’re like, ‘Yeah, Illinois State is really strong this year.’ But I think knowing that we’re just going in with just a great attitude knowing that if we put together the best races, we know that we will come out on top.”