Necks look for redemption at home


Erica Hagen breaks two school records at the House of Champion Meet.

Bradley Piros, Courier Staff

MACOMB Ill. – The Western Illinois University swimming and diving teams come back home this Saturday to take on the Truman State Bulldogs. Last time out was a bit tough for both the men and the women, but they made their home crowd proud earlier this month with a couple of wins.

The last time the Leathernecks were in the pool was the weekend before Thanksgiving break where they competed in the 2017 House of Champions Meet. A total of 14 schools came out to this meet including some tough competition like the University of Connecticut, the University of Indiana and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. The women placed in 13th with 190 points, while the men came in at 11th with 214.50 points. They might have not placed well, but head coach Greg Naumann was still happy with his side’s performance.

“We had a really good meet. We only give the team a couple of days rest, but they still swam fast when compared to the rest of our season times,” Naumann said. “We always compare to what we have done at this time in years past, and it appears that many are in track to compete even better at The Summit League Championships than in years past.”

Freshman Erica Hagen set two school records to pick her team up some points. Her first record time was in the 100-breast finals with a time of 1:03.33 to get the win. The other one was in the 200-breast where she won the final again with 2:21.55. On the men’s side sophomore Brennan Bladel set a personal record in the 200-back with a time of 1:53.20.

The last time the Purple and Gold swam in Macomb was back earlier this month on the 4th when they took on the Olivet Nazarene Crusaders and the Valparaiso Tigers. The women dominated the meet entirely  beating the Crusaders 197-54 and the Tigers 142.5-124.5 while the men were edged by Olivet Nazarene 150-123 and beat Valparaiso 185-82.

Western started the meet out strong as they won the first relay event. Sophomores Taylor Winkel, Casey Roberts and Miranda Mathus along with Hagen took first place with a 4:04.84 time. Sophomores Madison Chao and Winkel took the top two spots in the 100-back with times of 1:02.70 and 1:03 respectively. The same pair would do it again in the 200-back with times of 2:16.06 and 2:18.08.

As for the men, Bladel won the Leathernecks’ first event with a swim of 54.02 in the 100-back and sophomore Colin Parker won the 1-meter dive with a score of 241.20.

The swim and dive teams will return to action here in Macomb as they look for another win when they take on the Bulldogs. It’s set to take place at 1 p.m. in Brophy Hall.

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