Illinois swimming competes in first meet of the year


Sarah Park

Swimmers wait for the meet to start at the Orange and Blue meet in the ARC Pool on Friday, October 7, 2016.

By Erich Fisher, Contributing writer

The Illinois swimming teams squared off against each other Friday for the only time this season.

The orange team defeated the blue team 117-98, behind the performance of junior Sam Stratford. She broke her own pool record in the 200-yard IM and her meet record in the 100-yard backstroke. 

Stratford crushed her old record of two minutes and four seconds in the 200-yard IM by three seconds, setting the pool record at 2:00.99. In her next event, she would break her old meet record of 1:05.30 in the 100-yard breaststroke by .33 seconds, claiming the new meet record.

“We did a lot of hard training in the past few weeks — didn’t really feel the best, but times were decent for the start of the year,” Stratford said. “Hopefully we can just improve on the small details in practice that’ll come into play during the meet, but I thought the atmosphere was great for the first meet of the year.”

The blue team was not short of strong performances, as senior Gabbie Stecker took the 200-yard freestyle event with a time of 1:53.54 and the 500-yard freestyle at 5:04.84. Sophomore Madeline Kuhn was another standout for the blue team, cruising to victories in the one-meter and 10-meter diving events with point totals of 215 and 187, respectively.

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Head coach Sue Novitsky was very pleased with the team’s energy, and said that it has been something the Illini have been working on in the offseason. 

“I thought we put together a very solid lineup from top to bottom; (there are) obviously a lot of things we still need to work on such as turns, breakouts and just working on race strategy,” Novitsky said.

Illinois prepare to face off against Michigan State and Marshall on Oct. 21.

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