Salukis set to swim

With three days of swimming ahead, the women’s swimming and diving team is prepared for this weekend’s Missouri Valley Conference Championships.

SIU will host the championships Thursday- Saturday at the Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatori- um and will feature five MVC teams includ- ing Missouri State, University of Evansville, Illinois State University and University of Northern Iowa. Coach Rick Walker said his team is ready for this weekend and are pre- pared for a good meet. “Our focus is always at the end here, so we are looking for peak performances now,” he said.

The Saluki women’s swim team completes resistance training and laps Feb. 7 during practice at Edward J. Shea Natatorium. After two consecutive meet wins, the team prepared for this weekend’s Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Championships, scheduled for today through Saturday at Edward J. Shea Natatorium at Carbondale. Tiffany BlancheTTe | THE WEEKENDER

The Saluki women’s swim team completes resistance training and laps Feb. 7 during practice at Edward J. Shea Natatorium. After two consecutive meet wins, the team prepared for this weekend’s Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Championships, scheduled for today through Saturday at Edward J. Shea Natatorium at Carbondale.
Tiffany BlancheTTe | THE WEEKENDER

“We have competed against some of the best teams in the country and against teams we will face this weekend, so now it’s ready to go.”

The meet will feature 20 events in a series of preliminaries and finals. The Salukis won three events last year, when then-freshman Han- nah Pinion won both the 400 and 200 yard individual medley races and then-sophomore Isabela Castro won the 200 yard butterfly. Castro set a MVC record in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2 minutes and 01.39 seconds

in her final race and Pinion set a record with a 2:303.32 final time.

Pinion said the races’ pressure triggers her to swim and race well.

“I put a target on my back early on and that motivates me everyday knowing that I already set that goal for myself and I have to bring up this year too,” she said.

Junior Pamela Benitez was MVC swim- mer of the week for the second time, and the swimmer has won four events in two meets this year. Benitez said she wants to continue her success through the weekend.

“This is a meet that we have prepared for since the beginning of the year, so whatever happened before it is just a preparation,” she said. “I think this conference is going to be really great for the team, and I feel like the results are going to show up for me.”

Sophomore Charlotte Davies said it gives the team a boost to see a teammate perform well when Benitez swims strong.

“What she does in the pool when she does really well in competitions, it brings us together to swim hard as well,” she said.

The team features MVC swimmer of the week Pamela Benitez who has won every meet in 2013.

Benitez said she will be much more calm at the MVC meet than she was in 2012’s London Olympics.

“This swim meet will be much more relaxed because the Olympics are more about the experience,” she said. “This meet will be more fun because even though I’m not representing my country, I am representing my family here at SIU.”

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