Feb. 6, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State swimming and diving team will be back in action this weekend as the team will split up for dual-meet competition. On the women’s side, the Spartans head to Ann Arbor to face in-state and conference rival Michigan on Friday, Feb. 7 at 5 p.m., before heading to Toledo on Saturday for competition scheduled at 1 p.m. The Spartan men will also compete against the Wolverines this weekend, with competition slated for Saturday, Feb. 8 at 12 p.m. Both the men’s and women’s competition at Michigan’s Canham Natatorium in will be the Wolverines’ Senior Day.
“For the women, we set the weekend up as a way to really fine tune everything as we get to about two weeks out from the Big Ten meet,” said head coach Matt Gianiodis. “For the guys, we're really looking toward being competitive and using this weekend as a dress rehearsal for the Big Ten Championships. The men will be at Ann Arbor, so it gives us I think a jump on getting ready for the championships.”
Last Time Out
Two weeks ago, the Spartans powered to victory as both the men and women defeated the Oakland Golden Grizzlies at McCaffree pool in IM West. The women's team bounced back after back-to-back losses to win 163 to 135, while the men's 154.5-143.5 win was backed by outstanding 400 freestyle relay performances that earned the Spartans first and third-place points to seal the co-ed dual victory for MSU. Both teams were backed by dominating performances on the boards to score valuable dual-meet points.
Inclement weather kept MSU from competing in a true dual meet with Denison on Jan. 25, however, the Spartans celebrated Senior Day nonetheless as an intra-squad meet was used to motivate the team as they were given the opportunity to push themselves to season-best times and earn a Monday morning practice off. The meet was capped off by the women’s 200 freestyle relay team of Summer Strickler, Brooke Telander, Sarah Love and Emily Parsons that broke the pool record.
Mulling Over Michigan
The No. 20 Michigan women’s swimming and diving team sit at 5-5 on the season and 2-4 in conference competition. Returning home for the first time in two months, the Wolverines are coming off a 172-181 loss to Ohio State last weekend. The women are led by Angela Chokran, who has posted three individual wins in the 100 breaststroke this season, while Marni Oldershaw owns four first-place honors in the 200 individual medley.
On the men’s side, the Wolverines are the reigning NCAA Champions. Currently ranked No. 2 in the nation, the men will also return home for the first time in over two months for their final meet of the regular season. The men are led by Bruno Ortiz in the 50 freestyle, Dylan Bosch in the 200 butterfly and Connor Jaeger, who has won every 500 freestyle event this season.
“The men are really good, so our goal is just to try and be as competitive as possible,” Gianiodis said. “The women are in a very similar boat to our women in that they are two weeks out from the Big Ten meet. So I think you see both teams approach the dual meet with the championships in mind.”
Both the men and women are coached by Mike Bottom, who owns a 40-3-1 dual meet record.
A Review of the Rockets
The Toledo women’s swimming and diving team most recently posted a 183-117 win over Akron on Senior Day last weekend. In his second season as head coach, Chris Peters led the Rockets to a sixth-place finish at the 2013 MAC Championship. Toledo is led by multi-event winners Christina Noens (100 and 200 backstroke) and Beth Rodgers (50 freestyle and 100 butterfly).
“The Toledo women are very good and we expect them to compete hard,” said Gianiodis. “Our women of course will use that meet similar to how we approached the night before in Michigan.”
The Spartan women will have a 10-day break from competition to prepare for the 2014 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships. Hosted by the University of Minnesota, conference meet is scheduled to begin Wednesday, Feb. 19 and continue through Saturday, Feb. 22 at the University Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, Minn.