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 swim & dive breaks 200 medley relay record

It’s already been a record-breaking season for Illinois swim and dive. The 200 medley relay in particular, featuring junior Suvana Baskar, junior Logan Kuehne, senior Lily Olson and freshman Kylee Sessions, saw a new school record set during the Boilermaker Invite at Purdue (1:39.37).

Even before taking the stage, Baskar knew that their group had a good chance at breaking the school record but they did not want to stress themselves out about it.

“We came together really well knowing what the goals were but we also did not stress each other out,” Baskar said. “It was well-managed, in my opinion.”

Olson had similar feelings to Baskar when it came to negating stress before performing. She said she likes to be calm and not put insane amounts of pressure on herself because, at the end of the day, she’s having fun and putting in her best.

“I would say I have a relaxed attitude about it, in a way,” Olson noted. “I am very excited to be on the relay that I am on, but I also don’t get too nervous about it, and I know that I can just have fun with it and I think that’s the energy and the attitude I bring. I don’t go in it with too intense of a mindset. I go into it thinking that I’m going to do my very best, we are all going to do our very best, it’s going to be fun, and if we do well and if we break a record, that’s awesome.”

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The record-breaking performance is a helpful gauge for Kuehne, who has her eyes set on the Big Ten championships in late February. Establishing such an impressive expectation so early in the season only further motivates the group.

“It’s midseason, so it’s a checkpoint,” Kuehne said. “Having that positive checkpoint pushes us towards Big Tens in a positive light and helps us and motivates us during practice in the winter and into February.”

What adds even more value to the run is that it was performed in the host site of the Big Ten championships, a fact that the group is very conscious of and has paid close attention to.

“It helps to feel comfortable and to feel like you know a pool,” Olson said. “Purdue can be a little bit tricky. There’s this wall that kind of feels long that people have mentioned. So the more swims you have there, the better you’re going to be, so it’s definitely great to know that we’ve had some experience there before. We also have a dual meet there in January, so we’ll have another opportunity to go in the pool before.”

Doing what has never been done before requires more than physical ability, with Baskar describing the entire team as being extremely close.

“As a whole, our team is really well-knit,” Baskar continued. “I think that’s something both the coaching staff and us as a group have put a lot of effort into. We truly think of each other as family, we always look out for each other and I think the whole team is united.”

That sentiment was echoed by Sessions, who relies on her teammates and coaches for a whole variety of things.

“The team has definitely been a big support system,” Sessions said. “I can definitely rely on them for a lot of things — the coaches and the environment and the team. They’ve been very supportive with the transition between club to college. I definitely think it’s been very helpful.”

All of the trust, support, energy and sisterhood is paying off for the Illini this season, with much more to come in the second half.


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