Illinois swimming looks for one final tune-up

Illinois swimming continues to recover and place a great amount of time on detail as it enters the final stretch of the season at Nebraska on Saturday.

“We’re really excited for championship season,” sophomore Jennifer Coady said, referring to the post-dual-meet portion of the schedule. “But it’s important that we put in the final details into our races before we compete, and that starts with Nebraska.”

After competing in three meets in a span of four days, the Illini are making sure to recover but also work hard with championship season not far away.

They will head back to the drawing board and return the focus to detail. Throughout the season, head coach Sue Novitsky has been emphasizing the importance of the quickness of turns during a race, because the seconds lost there could be the difference between finishing first or second.

Looking back on the weekend, she was not happy with how her team executed turns. She acknowledged that fatigue was a factor but knows work can still be done.

“It was nice to see that extra gear and respond to the competition,” Novitsky said. “But we need to continue to work on detail to become better.”

Other than working on turns, Novitsky monitored the swimmers’ heart rates during practices this week to make sure they are recovering well after an intense weekend and practices. 

She also emphasized the importance of the body to be able to adapt to high-speed training as well as pushing off walls as they enter this part of the year. 

Novitsky knows the intense training is hard on her swimmers’ bodies, but after a few weeks she knows they will be used to the intensity.

This past span of meets has helped recreate the situation the Illini will be in when they compete in the Big Ten Championships in February. There will not be much time to regroup and deal with mental and physical exhaustion. There will be no excuse to not pay attention to details.

The Illini hope to use their meet against Nebraska as one final tune-up on those details before entering championship season.

The team is expecting it to be a back-and-forth battle with Nebraska. Apart from it being a conference rivalry, the Illini enter this meet with a little revenge on mind. The Illini lost to Nebraska 194-106 at home last year and have not forgotten that defeat.

“We are looking forward to competing against them again,” Novitsky said. “We’re getting contributions across the board, which is great to see, and we look forward to it continuing.”  

Michal can be reached at [email protected] and @bennythebull94.