Jan. 28, 2012
By John Lock
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois men's and women's swimming and diving teams dropped dual meets to Western Kentucky on Saturday at the Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatorium. The men lost 176-124, and the women lost 181.5-116.5.
"We had people coming off illness and people getting rest for the first time all year, so our bodies were going a little haywire on us." head coach Rick Walker said. "That said, we still got full effort from everyone. I'm hopeful things will continue to fall into place for us as we go into the conference meets."
Kirsten Groome (10:13.75) and Jennifer Kwok (10:18.78) got the Salukis off to a good start by placing first and second, respectively, in the 1000-yard freestyle in the third event of the day. Csaba Gercsak (9:36.48) followed up with a win in the same event on the men's side.
Pamela Benitez won the 100 (52.55), 200 (1:52.13) and 500 (4:56.61) freestyle, giving her a sixth, seventh and eighth victory in 2012. Matt Parsons followed Benitez's 200-free win with one of his own (1:41.54), giving SIU its fourth victory in the first six events.
Isabela Castro gave the Salukis their next win with a first-place finish in the 200-yard butterfly (2:04.55). Charlotte Davies (2:07.00) finished right behind Castro in second, and Kwok gave SIU three swimmers in the top five.
Justin Wolfe won the 50-yard freestyle (20.57) for the second meet in a row, and his younger brother, Shaun Wolfe, finished in third (21.52). El Badrawi posted his first win of the season in the 100-yard freestyle (46.06).
The Salukis swept the one-meter dive. On the women's side, 2011 MVC co-Diver of the year Brittany Weigel posted a 281.81, more than 50 points better than her closest competitor. On the men's side, Justin Ruszkowski (299.63), Kegan Skelton (297.75) and Nathan Day (297.45) all finished within three points of each other but more than 30 points ahead of any Western Kentucky diver.
SIU swept the three-meter dive, as well. Weigel (237.60) won on the women's side, and Day (329.48) set a zone diving qualifying score on his way to winning the men's three-meter dive.
The Salukis are back in action next weekend for a double-header. On Friday, the team travels to Ball State, and Southern will be back on Saturday to host Evansville in the last meet before the conference championships.