Illinois swimming opens season with Orange and Blue intra-squad meet


Daily Illini File Photo

Illinois’ head coach Sue Novitsky cheers on her swimmers during the meet against Illinois State at the ARC, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. The Illini won 206-94.

By Erich Fisher, Contributing writer

Swimming head coach Sue Novitsky is ready for another successful season starting with the Orange and Blue meet Friday. 

The Illinois swimming and diving team will compete against each other as preparation for the beginning of its regular season matchups — The Illini will open the season against Michigan State and Marshall University on Oct. 21.

For this weekend, though, the team is split in half, with one side coached by Novitsky and the other by assistant coach Alec Hayden.

Novitsky is also looking to solve some questions about the team’s lineup this weekend. She will look to find out who is going to fill the void in the breaststroke event left by Jennifer Coady and Isabella Schamber, both of whom have graduated. 

Other events Novitsky is looking to fill are the relays, as the exits of seniors Lori Lynn and Sloane McDermott leave spots open in the events — spots that could be filled by the 12 new freshmen.

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But with the departure of several seniors, the lack of a veteran presence may cause some underclassmen to take on more responsibilities.

“I’m looking at our three seniors, Audrey Rodawig, Gabbie Stecker and Amelia Schilling, to take over the leadership roles with the team,” Novitsky said. “But it’s not just those three that assume all the responsibilities, as it falls on everyone from the seniors to the freshmen to be leaders on the team.” 

But Novitsky is unsure who will stand out this weekend among her new swimmers. 

“This has been one of our larger freshmen classes as we have 12 new faces on the team,” Novitsky said. “All of them are extremely talented.”

Even with all the praise Novitsky has been giving to her freshmen, she doesn’t ignore that there might be nerves among them when they compete for the first time at the Division I level.

“I think they’re going to be a little nervous come Friday, but we’ve been telling them to just treat it as you would any normal meet and prepare as you normally would,” Novitsky said. “Come the start of the season they’ll be just fine.”     

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