The Saluki women’s swimming and diving team will defend its home turf once again as competing teams begin to flood Carbondale for three days.
SIU will host five MVC women’s swimming and diving teams in preliminary rounds at the Edward J. Shea Natatorium beginning 11 a.m. today through Saturday, with the finals set to begin at 6 p.m. each evening.
Missouri State is set to return to SIU after finishing in first place eight out of the past nine years. The MVC Conference website put the Missouri State Bears at the top of the rankings by a six-point margin over the 19 points awarded to the second-ranked Salukis.
SIU Swimming and Diving coach Rick Walker said despite being ranked fourth, the Evansville Aces put up a good showing in their loss to the Salukis last week. SIU has earned six MVC Swimmer of the Week awards this season, tied with Evansville for the most athletes awarded this season.
After Friday’s loss to Ball State and Saturday’s win over Evansville, freshman swimmer Mardi Buchanan said prior to the championship meet, teams will modify practices for a few weeks to be fully rested for the meet, a coaching strategy known as tapering.
“The best way we can be prepared for the meet is to be rested,” Walker said. “The team seems well rested and ready to go after last week’s doubleheader.”
With the men’s Mid-American Conference Championships set to begin March 1, SIU Sports Information Director Tom Weber said because of to a lack of men’s swimming and diving programs, the Missouri Valley Conference doesn’t sponsor the men’s program, hence its affiliation to another league.
The Saluki women have hosted the meet since 1994,with a brief absence in 2008. SIU’s last MVC Conference victory was in 2007 and it took a third place finish in last year’s event.