Illini swim to victory at Splash Bash

With a large crowd of 763 fans in attendance, the Illinois swimming and diving team topped Iowa State, 173-122, at its second annual Splash Bash to improve to 4-1 on the season.

Freshman diver Lauren Wismer broke her own school record in the three-meter dive with a score of 304.8. Just two weeks earlier, Wismer had set the record in the one-meter dive at Nebraska.

“It is really exciting,” Wismer said. “I learned that I am a lot tougher than I thought. If you stay positive you will do well.”

Head coach Sue Novitsky said she was proud of her freshman diver.

“I did not even know she set the record until it was announced over the loudspeaker for the whole crowd to hear,” Novitsky said. “It is great for her to set the record in front of the home crowd. It is a great confidence builder for her.”

Just seven events into the meet, the Illini had doubled the Cyclones’ score, and they never let up. With two events left, the home team led 160-85.

Sophomore Kristen Manias took the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle.

“We came in with high expectations,” Manias said. “On paper, some of the events were even, but we thought we would come out on top. It is a good win for us.”

In addition strong showings by Manias and Wismer, the Illini had seven other first-place finishes. Kristen Kloeckener and April McKee took titles in the 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle, respectively. Other winners were Jen Ivarson in the 200-yard butterfly, Amy Forsberg in the 1000-yard freestyle, Erica Lynn in the 200-yard breaststroke, Amy Johnson in the 100-yard breaststroke and Britni Fisher in the one-meter dive.

“We always want to win, especially at home, so we were very happy with our performance,” Novitsky said. “One of the key stats we aim for is that we try to win one of the relays and win at least half of the events. We achieved a lot, and a lot of us were able to do well.”

“Splash Bash looked like a lot of fun. I am glad we were able to have as much fun as the people were having. Hopefully they’ll be back for some other meets,” Novitsky added.