WKU off to SIU for last regular season meet

Kurt Carson

WKU swimming and diving will look to continue the success they’ve found thus far as they cap off their regular season schedule this weekend.

The men’s (7-1) and women’s (9-1) teams will travel to Carbondale, Ill., Saturday to take on Southern Illinois at 1 p.m. at the Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatorium.

WKU head coach Bruce Marchionda said he knows the challenge his team faces going up against a squad like SIU.

“SIU is going to be a very, very difficult meet,” Marchionda said. “They’re favored to win the Missouri Valley Conference on the women’s side, and they’re also favored to win the Mid-American Conference on the men’s side. They are very, very good.”

The women’s team holds a 10-1 all-time record against SIU, while the men are 8-4 in their history of facing the Salukis.

WKU is coming off a sweep of the University of the Cumberlands last weekend in Bowling Green.

That meet came on the heels their hardest training phase of the season that lasted two weeks.

Senior Kevin Knezevich said he feels confident now that they’re back in the routine and the spring semester is underway.

“Once we get back in the swing of things here at school and training short-course, I think we’ll be able to bounce back and do a lot better,” Knezevich said. “I think we’ll give Southern Illinois a run for their money.”

WKU hasn’t suffered a loss since back on Oct. 29 when both the men’s and women’s teams fell to UK.

The women have won eight straight, while the men have now won seven in a row.

Senior Stephanie Martin said it’s that kind of consistency as well as her individual consistency that has her feeling optimistic going in to Saturday’s meet.

“I’m pretty confident,” Martin said. “I hope that I can maintain what I have going right now.”

Martin’s coming off a performance on Senior Day in which she broke a pool record and a school record in the 200-yard breaststroke.

However, SIU is sure to provide tougher competition than WKU got from the Cumberlands last Saturday.

Marchionda said it’ll be one of their more challenging meets of the season but that he believes they can win because of what they’ve shown him all year.

“It should be fun,” Marchionda said. “It’s going to be a great meet for us, and we’re going to have to swim well.

“We’re going to have to go up there in their home pool, on their senior day and take care of business. I feel like we can do that.”