Swimming and Diving cruises to dual wins over Evansville

    Kirsten Groome closed her SIU regular-season career on Saturday. Groome has been a first-team All-Conference selection in each of her three years as a Saluki.

    Kirsten Groome closed her SIU regular-season career on Saturday. Groome has been a first-team All-Conference selection in each of her three years as a Saluki.

    Feb. 2, 2013

    By John Lock

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    CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois men's and women's swimming and diving teams cruised to dual wins over Evansville on Saturday afternoon. The men's team won 156-72 and the women won 154-89. The meet was the final outing for both teams before their respective conference championships.

    "I really liked our outlook today," head coach Rick Walker said. "Evansville is a great program, and we have a lot of respect for them. But we came in today and jumped on them right from the start. I'm excited to see what our athletes can do in their conference championships."

    The Salukis won the meet's first eight events and won 21 of 26 events overall on the team's Senior Day at the Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatorium. The men's and women's teams opened the meet with relay wins.

    Isabela Castro, Holly Johnson, Charlotte Davies and Luisa Silveira teamed up to win the meet-opening 100-yard medley relay (50.01). The men followed that race up with a dominating win in the 200-yard medley relay (1:32.98). Oleg Rabota, Calvin Kolar, Jacob Lucheon and Till Pallmann teamed up to win the event by nearly six seconds.

    Pamela Benitez cruised to a win in the 500-yard freestyle (4:58.96), leading a trio of Salukis who took the top three spots in the event. Newcomer Helena Amorim (5:05.82) and senior Kirsten Groome (5:09.85) finished second and third, respectively. Csaba Gercsak (9:58.01) and Caleb Coots (10:07.14) took the top two spots in the 1000-yard freestyle on the men's side.

    Benitez made it back-to-back wins with another dominant win in the 200-yard freestyle. Benitez (1:51.82) was again the first of three Salukis in the top-three finishers. Helena Amorim (1:56.13) and Morgan Timms (1:58.26) finished second and third-respectively. Benitez went on to make it 3-for-3 on the day, winning the 250-yard freestyle (2:25.66) by nearly four seconds. In her two years at SIU, Benitez has won 18 of 19 individual events in dual meets.

    Calvin Kolar (1:43.81), Eddy Lynk (1:45.10), George Minkel (1:47.40) and Marco Madeira (1:47.67) finished 1-2-3-4 in the 200-yard freestyle on the men's side. Kolar went on to also win the 100-yard breaststroke (58.14), the only swimmer to break one minute in the event.

    Luisa Silveira (24.08) won the 50-yard freestyle, topping Evansville's Michelle Tipton, who won the MVC crown in the event at last year's MVC Championships. Shaun Wolfe won the 50 free on the men's side (21.37) picking up his first event win of the season and third of his career. Senior Thomas Defay won the 200-yard individual medley (1:58.51) in his final dual meet as a Saluki.

    The Salukis swept the diving in the meet. On the women's side, Esther Chen won both the one- (315.15) and three-meter (322.81) dives. Kegan Skelton swept the dives for the men, scoring 333.00 in the one-meter dive and 355.48 in the three-meter dive.

    Castro won the 50-yard backstroke (27.71) and Olaf Meller won the 100-yard back on the men's side (51.31). Oleg Rabota (4:38.87) had an impressive win in the 500-yard freestyle, winning by more than 10 seconds. Holly Johnson won her third event of the season, this time in the 50-yard breaststroke (31.26).

    The men and women closed the meet with convincing wins in the freestyle relay. Rachael Barry, Shaily Brumley, Ella Otto and Holly Johnson won the 100-yard freestyle relay for the women. Esteavo Andrade, Olaf Meller, Oleg Rabota and Matt Frey won the 200-yard freestyle relay for the men.

    The women will be in action next when Southern hosts the MVC Championships from Feb. 14-16 at the Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatorium in the SIU Rec Center. The men's team is also hosting its conference meet, the MAC Championships, from March 7-9.