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 swim & dive succeeds in West Lafayette tournament

Illinois swim and dive had a successful meet this past weekend. It was the program’s first multi-team meet of the season and featured three days of standard competition against seven other teams. The fourth day was dedicated entirely to the long-course time trial. 

The Illini finished Thursday in third place with a score of 183. Illinois only trailed Purdue and Northwestern thanks to a couple of Illini records. Junior Suvana Baskar broke the 100 backstroke school record during her 400 medley relay. The program also saw its eighth-fastest 50 freestyle from junior Logan Kuehne, who posted a time of 23.15. That time placed Kuehne sixth overall for her race. 

“We are behind,” noted junior Sydney Stoll. “Behind Purdue and Northwestern, but both of those teams have been really good in the past, and are in the top half of the Big Ten.”

The top three schools remained unchanged after day two and Illinois’ point total sat at 377. Trailing Purdue and Northwestern is nothing to be ashamed of, however, as they are two of the top teams in the Big Ten. Stoll described the kind of feeling that being at the top incurs and was proud of Illinois’ showing as a whole.

“It’s been super exciting,” Stoll said. “We’re racing the other teams pretty hard, and we’re showing up, especially at finals, which has been really fun. I think that’s going to carry the energy into our last session tonight.”

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    Stoll also talked about her morning time for the 100 butterfly and how that gave her the feeling that she could break the record in the evening. Her team’s support and energy during day two were also key in her eventually breaking the school record for the 100 butterfly with a time of 54.24.

    “I swam it in the morning session,” Stoll continued. “I knew I could do it at night, but it was going to hurt really bad. My team was super excited, which felt really good. Even though it was an away meet, it was super exciting.”

    Day two for the Illini also featured two other school records for the team. Baskar finished second with her time of 53.66 in the 100 backstroke and the 200 medley relay of Baskar, freshman Kylie Session, Kuehne and senior Lily Olson also finished in second place. 

    There was no change in positioning for the Illini after day three, and they earned a third-place finish at the Boilermaker Invite. Illinois’ final score was 497, while Purdue and Northwestern held onto their first and second-place spots, respectively. Day three also featured one top-10 finish for the Illini; junior Paloma Canos Cervera finished third with a time of 16:47.10 in the 1650 freestyle.

    Day four in West Lafayette featured the Purdue Long Course Time Trial. Sophomore Sara Jass finished in first place for the 200 LC meter IM with a time of 2:21.65. Stoll also finished in first for the 100 LC meter butterfly with a time of 1:02.65. The 200 LC meter freestyle featured a close second and third place finish for the Illini, with Canos Cervera just over a second away from first place with a time of 2:07.68 and then freshman Martina Cibulkova just over half a second away with a time of 2:08.22. 

    Head coach Jeana Kempe’s mind was looking ahead to the Big Ten championships, hosted by Purdue, throughout this competition. She noted that this meet was a good mock for how Big Tens could play out, and the logistics of getting the opportunity to compete at Purdue is good practice for the Illini. 

    “Purdue is hosting Big Ten as well,” Kempe also noted. “This meet for us is also getting used to the pool and the facility. Knowing how far the hotel is from the aquatic center. And for the coaches, mapping out everything and having a plan. Also, in terms of deck space and stretching, itʼs a really good mock meet for Big Tens.”

    To end 2023, the diving team will be in Auburn, Alabama, to compete in the Auburn Diving Invite from Dec. 17-20. Illinois swim and dive will be back as a collective on Jan. 12 to host Iowa and kick off the 2024 competition.


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