WKU Swim and Dive travels to Knoxville for C-USA championships

WKU junior freestyler Aymeric Le Corno swims during practice at Bill Powell Natatorium on Wednesday. Tyler Essary/HERALD

Evan DePasco

The WKU Swim and Dive team travels to Knoxville this week for the Conference USA championships. Competition begins on Wednesday, Feb. 18 and concludes on Saturday, Feb. 21. 

Head Coach Bruce Marchionda believes the weekend’s outcome will depend on which team has the best luck, as the teams are well matched. 

“It’ll be a back and forth meet, and whoever has the best weekend will probably win it,” Marchionda said. “We are a balanced team because of our depth, and hopefully that will propel us to win the conference championships”.  

Marchionda said the team’s depth is much more of an asset this season than it was last season and knows it will be the key factor in being successful this week.  

“We will win our share of events,” Marchionda said. “But our bottom half will, hopefully, be better than anybody else’s bottom half. 

The strengths of the team are in the long distance events. The 500-yard freestyle relays, the 400-yard individual medley and the 1,650-yard freestyle will be key events, if the team wants to capture their first Conference USA title. 

Sophomores Fabian Schwingenschlogl and Cody Reul hope to defend their past titles, this week. Schwingenschlogl took home the 200 IM and the 100 and 200 breaststroke at the conference championships last year, while Reul won the 500-yard freestyle. 

The women’s team will be heading into this week’s conference championships with some injury questions.

“We are fairly deep, but we have some injuries, especially on the diving end of things, which could end up hurting us majorly,” Marchionda said. 

Marchionda says one diver recently suffered an injury, and their status will not be known until close to meet time. 

“We are hoping it works out,” Marchionda said. “But in both men’s and women’s we are in it to win it”. 

There will be a quality field of competition in Knoxville this week. Marchionda says Old Dominion will be the team to beat on the men’s side because of their balance. 

On the women’s side, he said he believes it will be a three-way battle between the past champions Rice, Florida International and the Lady Toppers. 

Coaches are hoping to get a great performance from German sophomore Nadine Laemmler, who will participate in the 200 IM, and the 100 and 200 backstroke. 

“We are hoping Zach Batus can step up and win a couple events on the diving side,” Marchionda said. 

Men’s Diving preliminaries start at 2 p.m. CT, on Wednesday.