2022 MVC Fan Guide: Fifth-Years Miller, Howell Keep Missouri State At The Top

2022 Missouri Valley Women’s Championships

  • Wednesday, February 16 – Saturday, February 19, 2022
  • U of Iowa Aquatic Center – Iowa City, Iowa
  • Defending Champion: Missouri State (5x)
  • Psych Sheet
  • Live Results
  • Results on Meet Mobile: “2022 MVC Swimming & Diving Championships”
  • Live Video (YouTube)
  • Championship Central

The Missouri State Bears have been absolutely dominant at the MVC Women’s Championships over the last two decades, having won five consecutive titles and 17 of the last 19.

With two of the conference’s best swimmers, Anna Miller and Liberty Howell, returning to Missouri State as graduate seniors this season, the Bears are poised to cruise to their 18th crown over the last 20 years.

However, Southern Illinois brings a strong contingent to the table, led by upstart freshman Celia Pulido and last season’s MVC Freshman of the Year, Mima Zaborska. In fact, the Salukis beat the Bears in a head-to-head dual back in early October. But that was early October.

SCHEDULE

Wednesday

  • 200 medley relay
  • 800 freestyle relay

Thursday

  • 500 freestyle
  • 200 IM
  • 50 freestyle
  • 1-meter diving
  • 200 freestyle relay

Friday

  • 100 butterfly
  • 400 IM
  • 200 freestyle
  • 100 breaststroke
  • 100 backstroke
  • 3-meter diving (9-16)
  • 400 medley relay

Saturday

  • 1650 freestyle
  • 200 backstroke
  • 100 freestyle
  • 200 breaststroke
  • 200 butterfly
  • 3-meter diving (1-8)
  • 400 freestyle relay

SHOWDOWNS

Before outlining some exciting races to keep an eye on, we must first acknowledge the dominance of Miller and Howell.

Miller comes in as the two-time defending champion in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 fly, and towers over the field in all three events coming into this week’s matchup. Miller is more than a full second clear of the next-fastest swimmer in the conference this season in the 50 free (22.13) and 100 free (48.70), and is 95 one-hundredths in the 100 fly (54.03).

Howell comes in with a chance to finish off a perfect individual career at the MVC Championships, having swept the 200, 500 and 1650 free in her first four years of competition. If she manages to do so once again, Howell will have gone a perfect 15-for-15 for her career.

She comes in with a huge gap over the rest of the conference in the 200 free (1:47.20) and 500 free (4:48.47) this season, while she’s set for a great battle with teammates Sam Hietpas and Vera Margula in the 1650 free. The three swimmers finished within three seconds of one another last season, led by Howell in 16:43.08, while Hietpas (16:51.38) leads Howell (16:54.99) and Margula (16:55.19) so far this season.

Another dominant force this season has been Celia Pulido, who appears well on her way to winning the 100 back (52.46) and 200 back (1:54.26), holding more than two- and four-second gaps on the rest of the conference this season, respectively.

Here are some other showdowns to watch for:

200 IM – Celia Pulido is the fastest this swimmer this season at 2:02.35, but is followed closely by last season’s runner-up, Missouri State’s Sami Roemer (2:02.57), along with another Bear, Kelly Sego (2:03.54). Last season’s winner, Mima Zaborska, hasn’t competed since October, but is entered in the meet.

100 Breast – The 100 breast is stacked with contenders, led by Illinois State’s Madyson Morse and Missouri State’s Yuliya Zubina. Both swimmers have been 1:02.7 this season, and took third and second, respectively, at last season’s championships. Defending champion Mima Zaborska, along with her Salukis teammates Melanie Scheiblein, Ali Robertson and Ella Kerr, are also in the mix, as is Missouri State’s Alessia Puleo. Other than Zaborska, who won in 1:01.15 last season, the other six have all been within 1:02.70-1:03.53 this season.

200 Fly – An excellent three-way battle is on the docket in the 200 fly, with Illinois State’s Lauren Naeger (2:01.78), Southern Illinois’ Jules Atkinson (2:01.88) and Missouri State’s Payton Smith (2:01.93) all bunched up at 2:01-high so far this season. Naeger was third at the 2021 championships.

400 IM – The 400 IM has the top three seeds all within two-tenths of one another based on times done this season, led by Missouri State’s Sego (4:24.70) who was third last season. Her teammate Sami Roemer is the #2 seed at 4:24.84, and Indiana State’s Alexa Szadorski (4:24.88) is third. Illinois State’s Haley Rivera is next up at 4:25.96.

SWIMULATOR PICKS

Note: Swimulator doesn’t include diving scores.

  1. Missouri State, 765.5
  2. Southern Illinois, 574.0
  3. Indiana State, 471.5
  4. Illinois State, 414.0
  5. Northern Iowa, 317.0
  6. Little Rock, 275.0
  7. Evansville, 269.0
  8. Valparaiso, 110.0

SWIMSWAM PICKS

  1. Missouri State
  2. Southern Illinois
  3. Indiana State
  4. Illinois State
  5. Northern Iowa
  6. Evansville
  7. Little Rock
  8. Valparaiso

Missouri State is firmly in control of winning this meet, with excellent relays, high-end talent and solid diving. Southern Illinois is a clear second, and while Illinois State projects to make a push for third with some solid diving, Indiana State’s got a big enough gap there that the Sycamores should hold onto the podium spot.

Evansville’s diving looks to be able to push them up past Little Rock for sixth.

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The Screaming Viking!
4 months ago

GO BEARS

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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