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With just about eight short weeks from the NCAA Championships in Greensboro, the Division II landscape is starting to crack down with conference and nationals quickly approaching. Many teams across the country will be hosting their senior days and start to at least think about resting for the upcoming conference championships.
Perhaps one of the biggest regular season meets of the second semester, the (#7/6) Indianapolis Greyhounds will be hosting two top ten teams in (#14/5) Grand Valley and (#4/4) Lindenwood. All three men’s teams are ranked in the top ten in succession as the winner of this meet will be in the driver’s seat for a top four finish in Greensboro. Indianapolis has been highlighted by junior Guilherme Zavaneli who leads Division II in the 200 free as well as junior Rodrigo Codo Berti who is one of the best backstrokers in the nation as well as the #2 200 IM’er in the country in Division II swimming. Berti will be going head to head with Grand Valley’s Harry Shalamon who is also one of the best backstrokers in Division II. That will be one of the match-ups of the meet.
Both Grand Valley and Lindenwood jumped the UIndy men in the latest CSCAA poll that will probably ignite a fire under the Greyhound swimmers.
Grand Valley is led by junior Marius Mikalauskas who leads Division II in the 200 breast and Lindenwood boasts two top time ranked times with junior Christian Vasquez (400 IM) and junior Justin Winnett (100 breast). Vasquez will be expected to go head to head with Indianapolis’s January addition of Hector Gomez Diez out of Spain who swam a 4:05.46 against Tiffin in the 400 IM. For reference, Vasquez’s best in-season time this year has been a 4:01.51 he did in October.
The Lindenwood women have been led by junior Simone de Rijcke who leads the nation in the 200 free as the Lions have been one of the quiet teams in Division II. Indianapolis has sophomores Darian Murray and Athina Konstantinidi leading the charge as their depth might be able to compete with the Lions. Overall, the women’s meet is not as tightly contested on paper as the men’s meet appears to be.
Grand Valley and Indianapolis are also conference rivals in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. This is the last time they will see each other before the conference championships February 7. Lindenwood will be arriving in town after they swim McKendree on Friday night.
Two big rivals that will be swimming this weekend are (#1/2) Drury and Division I Missouri State who are competing in their own “Duel in the Pool.” The two teams share the same city and meet twice annually in a usually intense meet. The two teams have gone to the last relay the last two years on the men’s side. Drury has beaten the Missouri State women at home at least ten straight times. Both Drury teams already lost earlier in the season when they swam at Missouri State but both teams will be ready to go on Thursday night.
In other action on the weekend, the #3 Nova Southeastern women will be traveling to swim Division I Florida International, and (#6/16) UC San Diego will be swimming (#13/9) California Baptist in Riverside. These two California teams have been on the rise this year as David Marsh has already started working his magic in San Diego.
(NR/19) Missouri S&T is hosting (#21/NR) Wayne State and the latter will also travel to Division III Wash U the next day. (#3/16) Delta State will also be hosting a big meet with Division III Emory and (NR/10) West Florida.