Illinois swimming and diving remains perfect

By Jessica Glade

With a 194-106 victory in a matchup of two undefeated teams Friday, swimmers CeCe Marizu and Brittany McGowan helped keep the Illini’s win streak alive. Illinois came out strong against Illinois State and kept that strength throughout the meet.

“Overall I was happy. The team came in ready and I was happy with the intensity they started with,” head coach Sue Novitsky said. “They kept that intensity going through the whole meet. The win was really a total team effort with everyone stepping up on the blocks and racing their best.”

Along with continuing their undefeated season, the team has something else to be proud of – several outstanding individual performances. Many of the swimmers and divers swept their events, leading Illinois first-place finishes in 13 out of the 16 events against the Redbirds.

McGowan swept both of the butterfly events, winning the 100-yard and 200-yard events. The freshman also set a new pool record in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of two minutes and 4.88 seconds.

“Brittany really stepped up,” Novitsky said. “That 200 fly was a personal best and it was good to see that from her.”

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McGowan wasn’t the only member of the team to step up. Junior Marizu also brought intensity, sweeping both of the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke events. She set a pool record with a time of 58.07 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke event.

Novitsky acknowledged that Marizu might be reaching her peak.

“CeCe, she’s getting tired, but she just keeps stepping up and giving her best,” Novitsky said.

Along with the swimmers, Illinois had a strong showing in the diving events as well. Freshman Britni Fisher had an impressive day, starting off with a win in the one-meter diving event with a score of 269.40. She then went on to also win the three-meter diving event with a score of 252.82.

“It’s been a while since we’ve had a diver take both events,” Novitsky said. “And here she came in and swept the events and kept her composure through the meet.”

While the team is proud of its win and excited about continuing its undefeated streak, the Illini don’t plan on sitting back and resting. The Illini now have time off to reflect on what they have learned and work on details to enhance their already impressive season before returning to the water at the Miami Invitational in Ohio on Dec. 4. The team views this break as an opportunity to build off of its past success and continue to work hard.

“We constantly keep looking at the end of the season, to Big Ten Championships,” Novitsky said. “We learned a lot about different people in different events and it’s going to help us put people in new spots and enhance our lineup.”