SWIMMING: Powell nears men’s dual meet record as both teams battle illness

Wes Watt

Even with the holiday season approaching, sharing is something that Western swim coach Bill Powell doesn’t want to do anymore.

Powell, who tied for second all-time in men’s dual meets victories on Nov. 8, will be a little selfish before the holidays. He wants second place all to himself.

While Powell said the record is a great achievement for him and Western, he said the credit needs to go to his swimmers.

“I’m just ready to get it over with,” Powell said. “I hate to have the spotlight on me. The kids (are) really what it’s all about. Every kid that has been a part of this program has been a part of (the record).”

In order for Powell’s name to stand alone in the record books, he will have to do something he has done for 35 years and 318 times before. Win.

But standing in the path of 319 is Evansville, Western’s oldest rival.

The Aces will arrive at Preston Center Saturday in hopes of knocking off Western. But that’s a task that has evaded them since being added to Western’s schedule in 1970.

Powell said he has loaded the relay events to help get Western ready for the Missouri Valley Conference championship and some tough upcoming meets after the winter break. Instead of having his four best swimmers on one team, Powell will spread each of them out to lead their own teams.

The women have showed success against Evansville since being added to the schedule six years ago. The Tops hold a 5-1 record against the Aces and are coming off a respectful fourth-place finish at the Maryland Invitational.

But several swimmers and all three divers have fallen victim to the flu since then. That list includes Sun Belt Conference diver of the week, senior Marci Kacsir, who passed out in the weight room Monday due to an inner-ear infection.

Kacsir said she was sick at Maryland but had one of the best weekends of her career, taking three first-place finishes.

One other motivating factor for Saturday is her parents, traveling from Indianapolis for parents’ weekend. Kacsir’s mom has never seen her dive in college, and that has given her some strong motivation.

“Adrenaline always gets me going,” Kacsir said. “Especially with my parents here, I don’t think anything can keep me from getting in the pool.”

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