Press Release courtesy of Missouri State Athletics.
After its landslide victory at the 2017 Missouri Valley Conference Championships, the Missouri State women’s swimming and diving team was selected as the unanimous preseason favorite for the 2017-18 season, announced by the league Thursday.
Receiving eight first-place votes, the Bears led the preseason poll with 64 total points. Southern Illinois took second with 55 points while UNI was picked to finish third (48). Behind UNI waAfter its landslide victory at the 2017 Missouri Valley Conference Championships, the Missouri State women’s swimming and diving team was selected as the unanimous preseason favorite for the 2017-18 season, announced by the league Thursday.s Illinois State (39), followed by Evansville (27), Little Rock (26) and Indiana State (13) with Valley newcomer Valparaiso bringing up the rear (13).
“It’s humbling for our program to be recognized by the other coaches in the conference,” head coach Dave Collins said. “I think it says a lot about last year’s team and what they accomplished, partnered with a very good recruiting class.”
Winning its 13th conference championship in program history, the Bears had a dominant 2016-17 season. The women won five individual events and swept the medley relays at the 2017 MVC Championships, highlighted by Lauren Pavel who took home four gold medals. Posting numerous top times throughout the season, the Missouri State women broke six individual and three relay school records, as well as six Missouri Valley Conference records.
The Bears return 18 swimmers and welcome a crop of 10 talented newcomers to this season’s roster. MVC First-Teamers Sarah Allegri, Sara Bacher, Vikte Labanauskaite, Josie Pearson, Loretta Stelnicki, Emma Wall and Sydney Zupan all return to the squad, as well as the 2017 Freshman Diver of the Year, Payton Smith.
“With this honor in mind, our staff and student-athletes are focused on this season and a set of new goals that we are working very hard to accomplish,” Collins added.
The Bears begin their 2017-18 season Friday, Sept. 29 at the Missouri Show-Me Showdown, hosted by the University of Missouri at Columbia, Mo. For all the latest information on the Missouri State women’s swimming and diving team, visit missouristatebears.com or follow @MoStateSwim on Twitter.