The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Illinois swimming & diving team kickstarts season with Orange vs. Blue meet

Breast+freshman+Gwen+Baker+races+to+the+end+of+the+pool+on+Saturday.
Nathan Gonzalez
Breast freshman Gwen Baker races to the end of the pool on Saturday.

The Illinois swimming and diving team is gearing up for the regular season with its annual intrateam Orange vs. Blue meet. Even though the Blue team has held a winning streak in the past, the Orange team pulled out a narrow win last year (66-63). The year before saw a dominant 122.5-101.5  victory in favor of the Blue team, so the team who will come home with this year’s bragging rights is quite the tossup. Illinois’ season opener begins at 10 a.m. this Saturday at the ARC’s pool, with nonconference away meets starting up in the following weeks.

The Illini have been on an upward trend as of late, finishing last season with an overall record of 6-3 and earning a 5-4 mark the year prior. This could be a sign that things are looking positive for the Illini this season regarding their meets. It is conference placement, however, where things get tricky. Despite earning its most points since 2015-16, Illinois did not do well in the Big Ten Championships last season. Out of the 12 Big Ten schools participating, the Illini finished in 10th, 12th, 12th and 11th on days one through four respectively.

Looking over Illinois’ stats in recent years, the team has a tendency to perform better when it comes to nonconference opponents versus Big Ten opponents. In each of the Illini’s last five seasons, they have been defeated in three of their four conference meets. As can be inferred by Illinois’ previously mentioned 6-3 record last season, it was 5-0 against nonconference opponents.

An interesting feature of Illinois’ 2023-24 schedule is having UCLA as a nonconference opponent. In the coming years that meet will become conference play, so it will be interesting to see if Illinois’ dominance against nonconference opponents applies to UCLA in the present and can be continued into the future.

Each year there are bound to be new faces; however, this year in particular is big for the Illini. Twelve of Illinois’ 34 athletes are freshmen. It is still early and the utility of each new addition remains to be seen, but such a large overhaul may be what the Illini need to start a new era of Big Ten competitiveness.

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    The team kicks off its 2023-24 season this Saturday at 10 a.m. in the ARC pool for its annual intrateam Orange vs. Blue meet. As a team, the Illini will be at Kansas’ Robinson Natatorium on Oct. 14 at noon, looking for their first victory of the season. 

     

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