SIU women’s swim and dive exceed expectations in first home meet

By Evan Jones, @EvanJones_DE

SIU women’s swimming and diving team competed against University of Illinois and Illinois State in a double dual meet Saturday at Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatorium. 

Seven first place finishes in individual events kept the Salukis in contention with the Fighting Illini in the first dual, but ultimately the Dawgs fell short 166-134. 

SIU defeated Missouri Valley Conference opponent Illinois State 200-96. The Redbirds had one champion, junior Rachel Root, in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 57.76.


“I’d say we met and exceeded our expectations for today’s meet,” coach Rick Walker said. “Last year Illinois State really took it to us … Last night [Illinois] beat formerly ranked Northwestern. We just ran out of steam at the end.”

Last season the Redbirds beat the Salukis 159.5 to 139.5 in a dual meet, but SIU finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference meet, besting Illinois State by one place.

Sophomore Bryn Handley ended the day with two first place finishes for SIU in the 1,000 and 200-yard freestyles with times of 10:02.91 and 1:51.67 respectively. 

Handley also finished second in the 100-yard freestyle, with a time of 51.90. She also swam anchor for the second place 400-yard freestyle relay team. 

“At the end of the meet, to finish out like that it’s really exciting,” Handley said. “This was a very positive meet — this is the fastest I’ve been at this point in the season so it’s looking good.”

Sixteen-time MVC Diver of the Week Sherry Zhang swept the diving events. Her score of 373.7 on the three-meter dive and 334.7 on the one-meter dive put her 194.15 total points ahead of Illinois junior diver Olivia Kassouni. 

“Sherry is doing really well, I’m not worried about her,” diving coach Chunhua Zhao said. “She’s a role model for our younger diver [sophomore Rachel Williams].”


Williams placed third in both the one-meter and three-meter dives with scores of 227.55 and 268.85 respectively.

Walker said he was also impressed with sophomore Kelsie Walker and freshman Emma Brazeau.

Kelsie finished with a first place finish in the 500-yard freestyle, with a time of 4:59.2 and a second place finish in the 1000-yard freestyle, 10:20.98. She also swam in the second place 400-yard freestyle relay and finished third in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:52.41.

Brazeau finished first in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:23.8 and second in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:09.39. Each were personal bests. 

SIU swimming and diving competes next weekend in the Missouri/Kentucky Double Dual in Columbia, Missouri.

Evan Jones can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @EvanJones_DE