Illinois swim & dive looks to finish October strong against Illinois State, Southern Illinois, Vanderbilt

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Cameron Krasucki

Members of the Illinois dive team huddle up during the Orange and Blue meet on Oct. 9. Illinois swim & dive looks to finish October strong against Illinois State, Southern Illinois, and Vanderbilt.

By Jonathan Alday, Staff Writer

,After a tri-meet against Northwestern and the University of Illinois at Chicago on Oct. 23, the 2-1 Illini prepare for back-to-back swim meets this weekend. 

On Friday, Illinois heads to Carbondale, Illinois to compete against the Illinois State Redbirds and the Southern Illinois Salukis. The Illini hope to bounce back after losing to Big Ten rival Northwestern and continue improving as they finish off their fall stretch against Illinois-based schools.

Heading into this meet, Illinois State is 1-0, recording a close win over Evansville. Last season, they finished 4-1 in the regular season, placing fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference Championship. 

Their record against the Illini since 2002 is 16-2. Their most recent contest was Oct. 17, 2019, when Illinois dominated, 210-90.

Southern Illinois heads into the weekend 2-1, with wins over Missouri State and McKendree University. Their last contest was a loss against Missouri on Oct. 9. In the 2020-2021 season, the Salukis were 9-1 in the regular season and finished second in the MVC Championship.

Since 2009, the Illini are 7-2 against Southern Illinois. Their last matchup was on Oct. 17, 2019, when the Illini won, 176-123. 

After their meet in Carbondale, the Illini will head to Nashville, Tennessee, to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores, their first time competing against the Illini since their re-addition to the Vanderbilt athletics program in 2006.

Last year, the Commodores went 0-4 in the shortened season and finished 12th in the Southeastern Conference Championship.

They have started the 2021-2022 season 2-1, with their most recent meet being a narrow 151-143 victory over Florida Gulf Coast University.

This weekend will also be the Illini’s last before a two-week break and after a grueling October schedule where the Illini have been the visiting team in all the meets.

“(This weekend) is going to be difficult, obviously a lot of competing and a lot of traveling, so that adds a lot of layers,” said head coach Sue Novitsky.

Though this adversity seems daunting, the Illini swim team is driven to continue being confident, competitive and united, their core goals for the season.

“It’s definitely hard to have dual meets back-to-back weekends,” said sophomore Lily Olson. “We gotta make sure we’re keeping up with school, getting a lot of sleep and just doing everything we can to stay rested.”

The meet against Illinois State and Southern Illinois will start at 5 p.m. at the Shea Natatorium in Carbondale on Friday.

The meet against Vanderbilt will start at noon at the Centennial Sportsplex in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday.

 

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