WKU prepares for dual-meet without ‘top-end ‘ swimmers

Kurt Carson

The WKU swimming and diving teams will head into Saturday’s dual-meet missing a few key components from their lineup.

Most of the team is preparing for a dual-meet against Marshall and Fairmont State at the Frederick A. Fitch Natatorium in Huntington, W.V.

However six swimmers, two men and four women, are participating in the AT&T Winter Nationals in Atlanta this weekend and will be absent from the dual-meet.

The two men competing at nationals are juniors Billy Kunkel and Luke Musser while the four Lady Toppers are seniors Stephanie Martin and freshmen Claire Conlon and Hannah Runyon-Hass.

Head Coach Bruce Marchionda said he knows they’ll be missing some “top-end” swimmers on Saturday.

“We’re just hoping that our depth will help fill those voids,” Marchionda said. “That’s kind of what we’re working on — trying to develop the freshmen, trying to develop some of the sophomores that are starting to come around. It’s time for them to step up and see what they can do.”

Marchionda said his biggest concern is on the women’s side against Marshall.

“They’ll be pretty good, and we’ll be missing four of our top girls,” he said.

Junior Adam Dajka, named Sun Belt Swimmer of the Week on Tuesday, said he’s confident the team can fill the void on the men’s side.

“The relay is definitely going to be a little bit weaker and slower but I think we can handle that,” Dajka said.

Marchionda said the preparation will remain the same for every other meet despite missing those six swimmers.

He said this meet will require more strategic planning than other meets.

“We don’t prepare any differently other than taking a look at the lineup to see where they’re weak, see where we’re strong and where we can take advantage of those weaknesses,” he said. “So we might have to shift a few swimmers around in events.

Freshman Allie Duff said her mindset will also remain the same it has all year.

“My goal is to win all my races to get the most points I can for the team,” she said. “I’m sure everybody else will go in with the same mindset.”