Expectations grow with release of 2015/16 swimming and diving schedule

By Drake Pena

The Illinois swimming and diving team announced its upcoming schedule for the 2015-16 season last week. The Illini face four Big Ten teams, with three of those contests taking place away from home — a tougher schedule than in years past. In 2014, Illinois’ lone away Big Ten meet was a 160-140 loss at Northwestern. 

Illinois will also travel to Florida, for the competitive Florida International meet. Illini head coach Sue Novitsky said the more challenging meets can contribute to her team’s growth.

“Our coaching staff is really excited about the upcoming season and feel that this schedule will really test our team,” Novitsky said. “We’re looking forward to getting back in the water as a group, and can’t wait to pick up where we left off last year in terms of making so many revisions to the record book.”

New Illini aiming for immediate impact

There will be many unfamiliar faces in the ARC pool this year, as the Illini bring in nine new members this season. Novitsky recruited a trio of incoming freshmen, in addition to landing a pair of transfers over the spring. One of the transfers, sophomore Charli Wike, will get the chance to swim in her home state following a season with the UW-Milwaukee program. Wike is a native of Sterling, Ill.

“Charli is a great addition to our breaststroke group.”  Novitsky said in regards to her new recruit. “She had a strong freshman season at Wisconsin-Milwaukee and we are looking to build upon that success. Charli has the drive to work hard and continue to push herself to get stronger. She has a delightful personality and is a hard working student.”

Continuing academic excellence   

In a field of 171 swimming and diving teams, the Illini tied for 35th place to earn 2015 spring scholar All-America team recognition from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. Novitsky was impressed by her squad’s ability to manage time in and out of the pool.

“I am extremely proud of the team for earning scholar All-America recognition again for the Spring 2015 semester,” Novitsky said. “Once again, the team continued to put in effort in the classroom and show such great dedication with their academics.”

Novitsky said her current roster will continue the academic success of Illinois.

“As a group they are hard workers in the pool and in the classroom,” she said. “Their work ethic and individual personalities will be assets.”

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