Courtesy: Evansville Athletics
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Evansville women’s swimming and diving team will take to the pool for the third-straight weekend on Saturday, as the Purple Aces will travel to Normal, Illinois for a dual meet against Missouri Valley Conference foe Illinois State. The diving competition will kick-off the meet at 10:30 a.m., with the swimming portion of things set for noon.
The UE women have been dominant so far this year, winning all but one event in their first two dual meets of the year against Eastern Illinois and Valparaiso. Saturday will be a tougher test though against an Illinois State squad predicted to finish fourth in the Valley’s preseason poll.
“The ladies have done really well in the last two meets, but the real test will be this weekend,” said UE swimming and diving head coach Stuart Wilson. “It will be a matter of showing mental toughness against a good Illinois State team.
“I always believe that racing week in and week out will keep you sharp when the championships come around in February.”
Evansville has been led in the pool this year by junior Sarah Jahns (Lilburn, Ga./Parkview), the reigning MVC Swimmer of the Week. Jahns is unbeaten individually through the first two meets, and she is coming off a performance last week in which she broke the Roy and Mary Wyttenbach Pool record in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:02.54. She won the 200 back by over 13 seconds.
“Sarah has been much more focused this year,” said Wilson. “She has shown a lot of resilience in her training and has been very consistent in practice.”
UE’s freshman duo of Mari Mueller (Aschaffenburg, Switzerland) and Sveva Brugnoli (Rome, Italy) have impressed this year as well. Mueller is unbeaten in the IM and breaststroke events this year, while Brugnoli has been just hundredths of a second off of honorable mention all-MVC junior Maya Cunningham (Yakima, Wash./Eisenhower) in the butterfly events this year.
“The freshmen have done a great job this fall,” said Wilson. “It will be fun to watch how they will match up against Illinois State’s swimmers. I actually think they have made the team much stronger than last year.”
Diving-wise, UE is led by current MVC Diver of the Week Maggie Franz (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein). Franz swept the one-meter and three-meter competitions in the dual meet with Valparaiso, in UE’s first diving competition of the fall. Fellow senior Fae-Siri Keighley (Johannesburg, South Africa) finished second in the one-meter competition last weekend, while sophomore Madison Rollett (Evansville, Ind./Reitz) finished second on the three-meter board.
“I really liked what I saw last weekend in the first meet of the year,” said UE diving coach Dustin Bredemeier. “I am looking forward to seeing how we perform tomorrow at Illinois State.”