Salukis set to kick off season at Evansville

    Hannah Pinion returns after a freshman year in which she won two MVC titles.

    Hannah Pinion returns after a freshman year in which she won two MVC titles.

    Oct. 12, 2012

    The Southern Illinois swimming and diving season gets underway on Saturday with a dual meet at Evansville. The meet is slated to start at Noon CT.

    The teams will compete in a 13-event program that features 200-yard strokes for the individual medley, butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke. Last year at the Mid-American Conference Championships, the Saluki men finished third and the Evansville men finished seventh. At the Missouri Valley Conference Championships, the SIU women finished third and the Evansville women finished fourth.

    The Salukis return 11 All-Conference swimmers from last years MVC Championships and three All-Conference swimmers from the MAC Championships. Hannah Pinion and Isabela Castro both return after setting MVC Championships records in the 200-yard individual medley and the 200-yard butterfly, respectively.

    On the men's side, Juan Arbelaez returns after becoming the first swimmer in school history to break 20 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle. Arbelaez's time broke an 11-year old school record. Three swimmers return from the 200-yard freestyle relay team that won a MAC Championship and broke the Championships record. Justin Wolfe returns after a summer in which he became the first SIU swimmer since 2000 to qualify for the US Olympic Trials.

    Head coach Rick Walker returns for his 21st year as the head coach and his 26th year overall at Southern Illinois. He is the reigning MAC Coach of the Year.

    In dual action, the Salukis topped Evansville twice last season.