Feb. 18, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State women’s swimming and diving team are set to take on conference foes at the 2014 Big Ten Championships this week. Held at the University Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, Minn., the meet is hosted by back-to-back defending Big Ten champions, the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Competition will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 19 through Saturday, Feb. 22, with prelims at 11 a.m., diving at 1 p.m. and finals slated for 6:30 p.m. A broadcast of the meet will air on the Big Ten Network on Sunday, Feb. 23 at 10:30 a.m.
“It’s a fun and exciting meet,” said head coach Matt Gianiodis. “Our women are in a very good place. Our seedings are better than they’ve been in years. I think we have a great shot to have an incredible meet. I’m excited. Minnesota is one of my favorite places in the conference to go to. I love going up there and we usually have great meets when we go up there.
“I think we’re in good shape based on the fact that we have people who are seeded within the night swims, within scoring swims. It’s been a while since we can say that and I think we’re in pretty good shape. Our relays have been pretty solid all year long. I’m excited to see what we can do with those. I think our girls will swim up. In our pyramid of goals, at the top is to make sure everybody on the team performs at a high level, reaches their ultimate potential and swims their best times. I think we have trained incredibly well. Having a small group has helped that, because we’ve been able to focus a lot of our attention to them and I think we’re going to swim well when we’re up there.”
In the pool, the Spartans have several swimmers looking to qualify for the evening finals in their respective events. The Spartan relays should be a strong point for MSU, as the women most recently broke the pool record in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:33.22.
In the freestyle events, Summer Strickler leads MSU as the reigning 200 freestyle school-record holder. She has paced the women throughout the season, posting four wins in the event this season. Also earning individual wins in the 100 freestyle, Strickler ranks No. 19 in the conference with a time of 50.31 in the event heading into the meet.
Ranked No. 14 in the conference with a time of 1:02.90, Shelby Lacy looks to score valuable points for Michigan State in the 100 breaststroke. She has taken first-place honors in the event three times this season. Marina Borri leads MSU in the 200 breaststroke as she is ranked 23rd in the event with a time of 2:18.96.
In the butterfly events, Elizabeth Brown and Hannah Pugh will be assisted by newcomer Sarah Love. Brown, who sits at 31st in the conference with a time of 2:02.52, leads the Spartans in the 200 butterfly, while Love has paced MSU in the 100 butterfly as she is ranked 32nd with a time of 55.36. Brown and Pugh will also take the reigns for the Spartans in both the 200 and 400 individual medley.
On the boards, Alison Menzies and Cristee Cordes will look to score points for the green and white as they have taken individual event titles on both the 1- and 3-meter throughout the season. Both have already qualified for the NCAA Regionals, with Menzies leading the way on the 3-meter with a personal-best score of 314.63, while Cordes posts a team-high 289.42 on the 1-meter.
The Spartans will kick off competition on Wednesday, Feb. 19 with the 200 medley relay, the 3-meter synchronized diving and the 800 freestyle relay.