The Daily Illini

Illinois swimming concludes Big Ten championships

By Drake Pena

The Illinois swimming and diving team concluded its postseason competition last weekend, finishing 12th in the Big Ten with 234 points.

Big Ten champs Michigan hosted the event at its Donald B. Canham Natatorium. Thirteen of the conferences teams competed — Maryland competes in the ACC.

The Wolverines accumulated 1,361 points, setting the tone from Day One. Indiana (1,207.5) and Minnesota (927.5) finished second and third, respectively.

Although the Illini only edged out Michigan State in the standings — Illinois and MSU finished 12 and 13 respectively last season — the championships proved good in terms of personal and team growth.

Throughout the competition, five school records fell, in addition to numerous season bests, and top-10 times.

Head coach Sue Novitsky was impressed by the three school records her team broke on the last day alone, noting the improvement she saw from her swimmers on a day-to-day basis.

“It was great to set three school records on the last day and earn two more NCAA B standards,” Novitksy said. “We improved as a team with our times and getting more swims at night. We were looking to move up as a team, but I feel we took some strong steps for the future.”

On the second day of competition, sophomore Samantha Stratford broke the school record for the 200 individual medley twice — the first during preliminaries and the second coming in the finals. Both times qualify for the NCAA B cut.

Senior co-capitan Lori Lynn was given the conference sportsmanship award for Illinois. One swimmer on every team was given the award for their outstanding attitude throughout the competition.

Purdue hosts the last chance meet in West Lafayette, Indiana on Saturday, serving as the final opportunity for swimmers to get in some competitive reps before the end of the season.

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