Depth the difference in WKU sweep of SIU

Kurt Carson

WKU swimming and diving has never had just one person dominate the stat sheet throughout the 2011-2012 season.

That proved to be the case again in their regular season finale Saturday as both the men (8-1) and women (10-1) swept Southern Illinois in Carbondale, Ill., at the Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatorium.

Once more it was depth that was the difference-maker between WKU’s squad and the Salukis.

Head Coach Bruce Marchionda said it was a vital component in earning the victory.

“That was probably the key to the win over the weekend for both the men and women,” Marchionda said. “We won our share of events, but we also, a couple of times, took the top three spots. Any time you can do that in an event it is pretty devastating to the other team.”

The Lady Toppers finished 1-2-3 in both the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke events.

“It kind of sent a message that it’s going to be a very difficult thing for [SIU],” Marchionda said.

A total of nine different individuals from both the men’s and women’s teams won 15 events in the dual-meet.

That kind of top-to-bottom contribution has been something WKU has seen from its squad all season.

Within that depth, freshman Seth Musser led the way for the men with wins in the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke events, as well as the 200 individual medley.

Marchionda said he was impressed with Musser’s performance, as he has been all year.

“He just continues to perform at a very high level, which is really exciting given he’s only a freshman,” Marchionda said. “We’re hoping to ride his success throughout the conference championships.”

Marchionda said he was pleased overall with how his team prepared for SIU and how they executed during the dual-meet.

“SIU on paper was going to be a very difficult meet for us,” he said. “We were able to win a lot of close races yesterday, which was exciting to see. We’ve been working on a lot of little things in practice, and that seemed to come through yesterday. That’s a very positive sign for us.”

WKU will now prepare for the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Swimming and Diving Championships in Rockwall, Texas, on Feb. 22-25 at the Rockwall Aquatics Center of Excellence.

Marchionda said he expects the win over SIU to give them motivation as they begin to prepare for the championships.

“Our last dual-meet heading into conference [championships], we obviously wanted to pick up two wins which we were able to do,” Marchionda said. “Hopefully that will build up momentum and confidence heading into the championship season in three-and-a-half weeks.

“Hopefully we can ride that momentum.”