Jan. 24, 2013
WATCH: Swimming & Diving Preview
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The men and women of the Michigan State swimming and diving program will split competition this weekend. The women will host Michigan on Friday at 6 p.m., before traveling to Oakland University with the men for a dual on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Michigan State and Michigan have swum against each other every year, except during the 2002-03 season. Last Year, the women fell at Michigan with a 171-120 decision.
The team will then travel to Oakland for a dual meet with the Golden Grizzles. Michigan State won the last meeting with Oakland as they hosted the Golden Grizzles and Cleveland State for the first outdoor meet in 15 years to open the 2011 season. The Spartan men came out on top combining for 202 points on the day, while the Spartan women .
Friday's home meet will also be Senior night and will recognize the following four seniors on the women's team:
Lauren Baisden: An Academic All-Big Ten selection and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, Baisden competed in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 200m backstroke. This season, the Exton, Pa., native has won three 200 backstroke titles, swimming her personal-best time of 2:00.80 at the U.S. Winter Nationals meet.
Head coach Matt Gianiodis on Baisden: "Lauren has developed into one of the best backstrokers in team history. She has had a fantastic senior year and she also qualified for the Olympic Trials last summer. She has become a great leader and she has left a big imprint on our program."
Tori Merritt: A two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Merritt has already begun her graduate studies in public relations after earning a degree in political theory and constitutional democracy. She is in the all-time top-ten list in the 100 freestyle with a personal-best time of 51.43 and in the 100 butterfly with another personal-best time of 56.61.
Gianiodis on Merritt: "Tori is a lifelong Spartan who has lived her dream of swimming at Michigan State. That dream has at times been rough-including recovering from shoulder surgery and Tori has made an incredible comeback this year."
Alexandra Pierce: From Hendersonville, Tenn., Pierce is an Academic All-Big Ten and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. She has made the team's All-Time Top Ten list in the 200 and 400 individual medley, 100 butterfly, and the 200 butterfly. A psychology major, Pierce holds the fastest time on the team this season in the 200 and 400 individual medley with a times of 2:04.13 and 4:30.84, respectively.
Gianiodis on Pierce: "Alex has been one of the most versatile swimmers in our history. She has been on relays and she has been a great competitor in her four years here at MSU. She is real Spartan and she has grown into being a reliable leader."
Jenny Rusch: Last season, the Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich., native was recognized with the women's team's Swimmer of the Year Award. A finance major and two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, she made the team's all-time top-ten list in the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle. This past summer, she competed at the US Olympic Trial meet in Omaha, Neb., in the 50 freestyle. Rusch claims the fastest time of the season in the 50 freestyle, clocking in a 23.19 swim at the USA Winter Nationals.
Gianiodis on Rusch: "Jenny came to MSU from Grosse Pointe and she has been a steady contributor. She has broken many records on her way to becoming the best sprinter in team history. She is a great person and one of the hardest workers I have ever seen."
After a weekend off, the Michigan State men's team will host the Wolverine men as Michigan comes back to East Lansing on Saturday, Feb 9. The meet marks the last of the regular season before Big Ten Championships. The women will take on conference foes in Minneapolis, Minn., on Feb. 20-23, while the men will compete in Bloomington, Ind., from Feb. 27-March 3.