Salukis to take on vengeful Redhawks

By Gus Bode

The Saluki swimmers enter enemy waters as they again face the Redhawks and a field of competition.

The Salukis will face a mix of small and larger sized school including the University of Cincinnati, Denison University, Emory University, and Wright State at the Corwin M. Nixon Aquatic Center for the Miami of Ohio Invitational. The three-day event starts Thursday and will be the second time this season the Saluki men face the Redhawks. The men’s team defeated the Redhawks Oct. 8 at the Edward J. Shea Natatorium.

Heading into the Salukis’ previous meet, coach Rick Walker said it was important to compare SIU’s performance to similar schools it faced during the season.

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The Saluki swim team concluded its practice Tuesday at the Edward J. Shea Natatorium in preparation for the Miami Invitational Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Miami of Ohio University. “We want to get in there and compete well,” said coach Rick Walker. Nathan Hoefert | Daily Egyptian

The Salukis are coming off the Tennessee Invitational, where the men placed fifth and the women seventh of eight teams.

Senior Justin Wolfe led the Saluki men as he had SIU’s only first-place win of the meet with a time of 47.92 in the 100-meter butterfly. Assistant coach Scott Olson said he was pleased with the team’s performance against the tough Southeastern Conference opponents.

“Justin (Wolfe) winning the 100 butterfly against (an) SEC school has him ranked seventh in the nation, and our relays are top 40 in the nation. I would say we had a pretty successful meet,” Olson said. “Any time we are racing against SEC schools, there are no slouches.”

The Redhawks are coming off a win against Kenyon College, where both men and women’s teams dominated the individual and relay events with a combined score of 330-254 for the victory.

The Emory swim team, despite being a Division II school, has also faced top universities in the nation. Its opponents include the University of Georgia No.1 women’s team, and the University of Alabama which is  ranked just outside of the top 25.

Senior Kristin Geppert said the Invitational will be a good chance for the team to prepare for its upcoming conference meet.

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“It’s a three-day meet, so it’s like the conference meet is going to be. It’s good to go through that routine and practice line-ups so you can swim the events that you are going to swim at conference,” Geppert said.

Olson said it’s the point in the season when invitationals show how the swimmers’ mind and body will respond to competition.

“What we are looking for right now is to evaluate everything, as far as what our physical attributes are and what our mental attributes are, and how tough are we when it comes to racing at a invitational,” Olson said.

He also said this meet will help the team prepare for conference as they can iron out any flaws in their swimming, and provide a valuable look at every swimmer.

“We have an idea of what the people who went to Tennessee are capable of doing,” Olson said. “Now we have the other part of the squad that we are taking to Miami to see how they adapt.”

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