EAST LANSING, Michigan, October 25. THE University of Illinois women’s swimming and diving team began a busy weekend with a dual meet sweep of Big 10 foe Michigan State and up-and-comer Liberty on Friday night. Liberty gave the Illini all they could handle, but Illinois pulled out a 15-point victory. Liberty topped Michigan State, 166-133.
Illinois Press Release
The Fighting Illini swimming and diving team claimed two meet victories Friday night in East Lansing, Mich., defeating conference foe Michigan State (178.00-122.00) and Liberty (157.00-142.00). The Illini are now 3-1 to start the season, and will be riding high entering another tough meet Saturday morning at Noon CT against Oakland. Head coach Sue Novitsky set the goal to finish 3-0 this weekend and the Illini accomplished the first leg of that task tonight.
“It was a great night of competition in the pool,” Novitsky said. “The energy coming from the team was fantastic. Liberty and Michigan State gave us a run and we stood up to the challenge.”
The Orange and Blue were lead by an impressive 200 fly team performance in which sophomore Sarah Sykstus (2:04.70), freshmen Gabbie Stecker (2:05.26) and sophomore Lori Lynn (2:05.52) swept the event to finish first, second and third, respectively.
Junior Alison Meng and Stecker also took home first-place finishes on the night. Meng was the fastest in the pool in the 100 back (55.72), claiming her second straight first-place finish in the event this season. Stecker put together a memorable performance in the 500 free (4.59.73), claiming her first individual collegiate victory in the Orange and Blue.
The final event victory for Illinois came in the last event, the 400 free, where Meng, junior Megan Marchuk, junior Sabrinne Gibson and senior Courtney Pope edged out Liberty with a time 3:27.95.
“There were a lot of different event winners and that versatility will help us as we continue through the season,” Novitsky said. “It was exciting to see many of our swims were faster or right on last week’s times.”
The Illini fell just short of claiming even more event victories, as the Illini finished second in eight events. Along with Stecker in the 200 fly, earning second-place finishes for the Illini were freshmen Amelia Schilling in the 1000 free (10:19.06), Pope in the 50 free (23.68) and 100 free (51.40), senior Jessica Holz in the 200 back (2:07.08), senior Erica Lynn in the 200 breast (2:21.60) and Lori Lynn in the 200 IM (2:07.60). Meng, Erica Lynn, Lori Lynn and Pope also took second in the 200 medley relay (1:45.46).
The Orange and Blue secured five third-place finishes, including junior Mary Beth Howard in the 200 free (1:53.40), sophomore Isabella Schamber in the 100 breast (1:06.67), Schilling in the 500 free (5:03.82), Sykstus in the 200 IM (2:07.66) and Lori Lynn in the 200 fly.
Capturing fourth-place finishes for the Illini were Marchuk in the 200 free (1:53.65), senior Cara Chuang in the 100 back (58.40), sophomore Sloane McDermott in the 200 back (2:07.58), Meng in the 100 fly (56.53). Holz, Howard, Schilling and Stecker also finished fourth in the 400 free (3:31.27).
The Illini also claimed five fifth-place finishes, including Chuang, Schamber, Sykstus and senior Anne Goering in the 200 medley relay (1:47.92), as well as Sloane McDermott in the 100 back (58.57), Howard in the 200 back (2:07.78), Schamber in the 200 breast (2:26.20) and Sykstus in the 100 fly (57.03).
On the boards, junior Erika Murphy placed fourth in the one-meter dive (251.61), while freshmen Olivia Kassouni took fifth in the event (245.99). In the three-meter dive Kassouni claimed fourth (259.35), while junior Emily Fung claimed fifth (225.39).