Illinois swimming will recognize eight seniors at final meet

By Daniel Collins

Eight seniors on the Illinois swimming and diving team will end their dual meet careers at home on Saturday against Michigan State.

The group includes Alison Meng, Megan Marchuk, Hailey Booth, Callan McDermott, Sabrinne Gibson and divers Erika Murphy and Emily Fung. The class will be recognized for its contributions to the team prior to the meet.

Part of what the season class remembers most this year was there success at the Missouri event in November, when Illinois achieved 68 lifetime best records and last weekend’s Splash Bash meet against Big Ten foe, Nebraska.

“The meet last weekend was one of the most memorable parts of the season,” Booth said. “I don’t think we ever had a meet where everyone was that into it and swimming as well as they were with a lot of confidence.”

The Spartans, who have a dual meet record of 3-7 this season, trial in the all-time series against Illinois 15-9. The Illini have won the last six times the teams met.

Regardless of the team’s recent success against Michigan State, head coach Sue Novitsky said she is still going to put in her best lineups to try to secure a victory for the senior class.

“We definitely want to send our seniors out on a high note with a win,” Novitsky said. “It’s going to take a lot of our focus to get that completed.”

This event will not conclude the season for the Illini, as the still await the Big Ten Championships later in February.

In between the weeks of the final dual meet and Big Ten Championship, the Illini will focus heavily on the taper part of the season, primarily with their sprint swimmers.

Sprint swimmers will begin to take more practices off a week depending on how much time Novitsky feels they need and will reduce their weight training. Long distance swimmers will taper as well, just not as much due to them having to maintain their endurance.

Daniel can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @collins_d2.