Courtesy: Missouri State Athletics
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Entering as back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference champions, the Missouri State women’s swimming and diving team will look to take the crown yet again at the 2019 MVC Championship, hosted by the Bears at the Mizzou Aquatic Center in Columbia, Mo. from Feb. 20-23.
2019 Missouri Valley Conference Championship
Day 1 – Wednesday, Feb. 20 | 6 p.m.
Day 2 – Thursday, Feb. 21 | Prelims – 11 a.m. • Finals – 6 p.m.
Day 3 – Friday, Feb. 22 | Prelims – 11 a.m. • Finals – 6 p.m.
Day 4 – Saturday, Feb. 23 | Prelims – 11 a.m. • Finals – 5 p.m.
Site & Location: Mizzou Aquatic Center • Columbia, Mo.
Order of Events: 2019 MVC Championship Swim & Dive Schedule
Follow Along: Meet Mobile • Watch
Last season, Missouri State earned its 14th conference championship in a landslide victory, collecting 799 points over the four-day meet. The Bears captured nine individual event titles and swept all five relays.
In the pre-championship poll released by the MVC, Missouri State was unanimously selected by league coaches, garnering eight first-place votes for a perfect 64 points. The remaining list from the pre-championship poll includes UNI (53), Indiana State (46), Southern Illinois (41), Illinois State (36), Little Rock (22), Evansville (18), and Valparaiso (8).
Reigning Freshman Swimmer of the Year Libby Howell currently holds the top conference time in the 200, 500, 1000, and 1650 freestyle. All of these times have stood throughout most of the season, with all four being recorded in November at the Iowa Hawkeye Invitational. She also broke Dora Kiss’ record in the 200 freestyle.
Anna Miller and Josie Pearson hold the top time in the 100 and 200 butterfly, respectively. Loretta Stelnicki rounds out the Bears’ front runners in the 50 freestyle.
Nationally, standouts Howell and Pearson each hold a spot among the top 100. Howell ranks 43rd in the 1000 freestyle (9:56.25) and 44th in the 1650 freestyle (16:28.04), while Pearson claims 92nd in the 400 IM (4:16.38).
Missouri State’s divers have consistently found success on the 1-meter and 3-meter boards this season. Sophomore Ashley Yarbrough earned MVC Diver of the Week early in the season and qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships. After her All-MVC honorable mention last season, Dayana Popa tallied three first-place finishes this season.
Adriana Avila and Payton Smith made strides this season and will look to compete well at the championships.
Championship action will take place Wednesday, Feb. 20 – Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Mizzou Aquatic Center in Columbia, Mo.
Wednesday’s action will include the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays. The following day, individual events will commence, with prelims and finals taking place for the 500 freestyle, 200 IM, 50 freestyle, 1-meter dive (1-8), and 200 freestyle relay.
Swimming & diving action will continue on Friday with a mix of individual and team events. Prelims and finals includes the 100 fly, 400 IM, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, 3-meter diving (9-16), and the 400 medley relay.
The championship concludes on Saturday with finals in the 1650 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 fly, 3-meter diving (1-8), and the 400 freestyle relay.