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By Gus Bode

The SIU women’s swimming and diving team finished third in the Missouri Valley Conference championships, which coach Rick Walker said was ironic.

The Salukis totaled five MVC meet and overall records, plus another two SIU records by Kelly Dvorak, even though they finished third in the three-day meet that concluded Saturday. Missouri State won the conference, with Illinois State placing second.

‘Well, isn’t it ironic? We’ve been conference champions and conference team champions, and never set a record, and we’ve been second place and maybe set a record or two,’ Walker said. ‘And here we’re third place, and we’ve set more school records, more pool records, more MVC records than we ever have finishing first or second.


‘I don’t think they or I should hang our head over anything, or be ashamed of anything because like I said, I don’t intend to be here long.’

Dvorak’s SIU records came in the 200-yard backstroke, at a time of 2 minutes, 1.69 seconds, and the 100-yard backstroke, at 56.13 seconds.

Junior Therese Mattsson’s times of 50.41 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle and 1:49.79 in the 200-yard freestyle set school and conference records.

She was also on the MVC record-setting 200-yard freestyle relay team, which finished in 1:33.45, and the 400-yard freestyle relay team, which swam a 3:24.04. The other members of those relay teams were junior Tovah Gasparovich and seniors Isabel Madeira and Emily Duerringer.

‘We’re really happy to get records,’ Mattsson said. ‘We’ve been working really hard for it and we’re really happy that our training will pay off.’

Junior Emily Gable took second in the 1-meter dive and first in the 3-meter dive.

She finished first in the 1-meter preliminaries, but her second-place finish on Friday may have been a result of her shoulders hurting her, Walker said.


He said Gable did a great job holding off the competition and fighting through the physical pain he knew was affecting her.

Walker also said he hopes for more records and a higher team finish in the future, but was proud of the Salukis responded to his call for teamwork.

‘I said, ‘Look around you, and I said these are your teammates. This is all you have,” Walker said. ”Don’t turn to anybody else because they’re not there for you, they haven’t been there for you; but you look around and these are the people who have been there for you.

”This is all you are, and so you better start counting on each other and you better come out there like a team, because you will fail as a dysfunctional group,” Walker said. ‘And to the women, they all came together, they stayed together from the start to the finish, and they succeeded in that.’

The men will have their chance at a conference championship starting Thursday when they head to Nashville, Tenn., for the Sun Belt Championships.