Illinois swim and dive dominates Indiana State


Tiffany Zhang

Gabriele Serniute took advantage of the absences of of veterans this weekend. The sophomore finished first in three races this weekend.

By Erich Fisher, Contributing writer

After suffering its first loss of the year last week, the Illinois swim and dive team bounced back with a powerful performance in Terra Haute, Indiana, coming out with an 184-77 victory.

Saturday’s meet gave the Illini the chance to give some of their younger swimmers the opportunity to gain more experience in the pool. Redshirt freshmen Aby Olson swam in her first meet and made the most of it by winning the 100-yard backstroke event with a time of 59.30 seconds.

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    “Aby’s been working really hard with her rehab since her surgery last year and has been progressing really well,” Illinois head coach Sue Novitsky said. “It’s great to have her back in the lineup.”

    The Illini rested some of their top swimmers in this meet. Junior Samantha Stratford and senior Gabbie Stecker were on the sideline as they prepare for the Big Ten All-Stars vs. USA National Team meet Saturday.

    Sophomore Gabriele Serniute stepped up for the Illini in the absence of Stratford. Serniute was the second swimmer for Illinois in the 400-yard medley relay — Stratford’s normal position — and helped lead the Illini to a first place finish in the event with a time of 3:55.34.

    “I wanted them to have the opportunity to really step up and help the team,” Novitsky said. “It was a great experience for them and was great to see after a hard week’s worth of practice.”

    The Lithuanian native also placed first in the 100-yard breaststroke and 100-yard butterfly events with times of 1:06.13 and 58.59.

    Freshman Emily Martin took her first victory of her collegiate career in the 1000-yard freestyle event with a time of 10:33.74. Fellow freshman Monica Guyett, who has been the Illini’s go-to swimmer in the event, did not partake in the event.

    Familiar faces for the Illini continued their strong start to the season: Seniors Audrey Rodawig and Amelia Schillings placed first in a combined four events. Junior Ashley Aegerter finished first in the 200-yard breaststroke and butterfly with times of 2:22.09 and 2.09.48.

    Illinois will next compete on Nov. 17 in the Missouri Invitational.

    “When we get to those championship meets, they have to be tough because they may have to swim 11 races in three days,” Novitsky said. “They’re going to have to be able to handle that to where things aren’t perfect and really have to compete.”

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