Leathernecks dive into action


File Photo

Leatherneck swimmer competes in backstroke event.

Bradley Piros, Courier Staff

MACOMB, Ill. – The Western Illinois swim and dive teams head back to the waters this afternoon as they head over to visit the University of Iowa Hawkeyes. This will be their final regular season meet, and everyone’s last attempt at bettering their times before the Summit League Championships.

Last time out, the Leathernecks had a rather lack luster meet as both the men and women dropped to the University of South Dakota Coyotes in a dual meet. The men lost 92-191 and the women fell 103-177. Both teams are trying to bounce back and finish their season strong with this meet against Iowa.

For the Hawkeyes they were up against some tough Big Ten competition including Ohio State University and the University of Madison Wisconsin, when they competed in the Shamrock Invitational, hosted by the University of Notre Dame. The men’s team finished 3rd, while the women placed 5th over the three days.

These two teams have some history between them, as this will be the seventh year in a row that these two square off. In 2014, the Leathernecks got the best of the Hawkeyes. Last year however, both the men and the women fell short. The men lost 145-58 and women lost 161-49. Western wants to rebound off these last couple of defeats, so expect them to give Iowa a hard time.

Looking to help do that is a couple of key players from both the men’s and the women’s team. For the men you have sophomore Brenna Bladel, recording some impressive times in the 100 and 200-meter back, with career bests coming in at 52.09 seconds and 1:53.20 respectively. His times placed at 7th and 10th in the Summit League. Following in his footsteps is junior Chance McQuigg in the 100 and 200-meter breast clocking with times of 57.06 seconds and 2:11.56.

Continuing on with the men’s side is sophomore Connor Owens, who also competed in the 100 and 200-meter breast. His times were at 59.76 seconds and 2:07.25 respectively. Owens also competed in the 500 and 1000-meter free, with recording times of 4:45.07 and 10:07.94.

Moving over to the women’s side is freshman Erica Hagen who competed in the 100 and 200-meter breast, coming in at 1:03.33 and 2:21.55. These times put her at 5th and 7th in those races. Also, for the women is sophomore Miranda Mathus in the 100-meter free and 200-meter IM, with recording times of 53.44 seconds and 2:10.71.

Sophomore Taylor Winkel competed in the 100 and 200-meter back, coming in at 59.78 seconds and 2:11.38. Freshman Marissa Purdum participated in the 100-meter free, with a time of 53.59 seconds. Lastly is freshman Amanda Schaefer, who competed in the 1000 and 1650-meter free. Schaefer came in at 11:15.43 and 18:27.76, putting her at 13th and 20th place in the Summit League.

In the end, most of the Leathernecks are coming in at terrific times and are more than capable of beating Iowa this afternoon. It’s the final stop on the way to the Summit League Championships and Western is looking to finish this season out strong. The meet today is set to start at 4 p.m. in Iowa City, Iowa.

Twitter: bradjp08