Swimming comes back strong from break

Brie Coder, Copy Editor

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BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — After getting a head start last weekend against South Dakota, Saint Louis and Eastern Illinois, the Western Illinois men and women’s swim and diving teams are back and more ready than ever to take on Olivet Nazarene University Tigers this Saturday.

Prior to their comeback last weekend, Western has not competed since Dec. 1 against Truman State University. Head coach Greg Naumann, like any coach was worried that his team would still be on break mode when they came back. He, however, was very happy to see his team prevail once again and shake the winter break cobwebs they might’ve had during their four week layoff.

On their first night back last Friday, six of the men and women Leathernecks highlighted the event against both South Dakota and Saint Louis in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Junior Miranda Mathus, freshman Alexis Dreyer, senior Marissa Purdum and junior Casey Roberts came out with 3:39.80.

The men’s relay team of junior Brennan Bladel, freshman Adam Peterson and seniors Chance McQuigg and Samir Almhiemid raced to the finish line a few seconds ahead of the women’s relay team at a time of 3:11.08. Along with the freestyle relay, the Purple and Gold men came together once more in the 400-yard medley, where they picked up a first place finish at 3:30.13.

Not only were the four men powerful as a team, but individually as well. Two of those teammates Bladel and Peterson each received victories in the 200-yard back- stroke (1:58.19) and 50-yard freestyle (21.66). From the women’s relay team, Mathus came in at 1:58.67 in the 200- yard freestyle, concluding the first day of competition.

When Saturday came along, the seniors were celebrated not only for senior day, but also for their impressive races. Three seniors really gave it their all against South Dakota and Eastern Illinois. Almhiemid, McQuigg and Erica Hagen each came out with individual wins in the 200-yard med- ley relay, 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard breaststroke. Prior to the events, these three and several others were recognized for their four-year commitment to the program.

Since Bladel, Peterson, McQuigg and Almhiemid did an outstand- ing job the day before this event, Naumann had the four men team up once more in the 200-yard med- ley with an overall time of 1:36.31. Later at the same event, Almhiemid and McQuigg both went on to

post more times in the 100-yard backstroke (53.21) and 100-yard breaststroke (59.01), each coming out victorious.

Throughout their season, the Tigers have had some highs with individual performances and lows with overall team scores. In their last event (Wheaton Invite) back on Nov. 30-Dec. 1, Iran Cavalcante, Xavier Bordes Adell and Seth Cripe each recorded two NAIA qualifying times at the two-day invite. However, both the women and men’s overall teams were on the lower end with fifth and sixth place finishes, sixth being the last rank at the Invite.

It’s getting down to the nitty gritty for Western, as they have two more meets before the big Summit League Championship event on Feb. 20-23. The Olivet Nazarene event begins this Saturday at 1 p.m.

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