SWIMMING: Team heads to Wisconsin

Josh Buckman

The season keeps getting tougher for Western’s swimming and diving team.

After traveling several hours to Monroe, La., and back last weekend, the Hilltoppers will head north tomorrow to compete against Wisconsin-Green Bay and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“They’re both pretty tough,” Coach Bill Powell said. “I think Green Bay will be easier for our men than for our women, and I think Milwaukee might be easier for our women than our men.”

Green Bay’s men’s strengths lie in sprinting and breaststroke events, while its backstroke and distance appear to be key weaknesses, Powell said.

Green Bay’s women’s team is well-balanced, but Powell hopes that Western will be able to hold them back with strong showings in the distance events.

Milwaukee’s men and women come in after their first win of the year in a non-dual match against Wheaton. During the meet, Panther Josh Baseheart set a new record at his home pool in the men’s 100-yard freestyle. The previous record had been held by Western alum David Tucker.

To win, Powell insists that Western will have to be strong top to bottom.

“Our depth needs to step up,” Powell said. “We need to not just get the first places. We need to get those seconds, thirds and fourth.”

The team heads to the Badger State with a plate of confidence. The men’s team (2-0) comes in after knocking off Louisiana-Monroe, while the women’s team (8-2) beat conference rival New Mexico State and Monroe.

“We feel pretty confident,” junior Penta Stanley said. “We have pulled out every other meet, and this doesn’t look like it’s going to be too much of a problem.”

Some team members were cautious, fearing that last weekend’s trip to Louisiana and this weekend’s trip back-to-back might hurt the Toppers’ chances.

“We’re all real tired after a . 10-hour bus ride there and a 10-hour bus ride back,” says Nick Bracco. “Our coaches are hitting us pretty hard this week.”

But most of the team feels pretty confident. Many of the team members have been impressed by the strong performances of their younger members.

“We’ve already had people that have gone their best times,” team captain Meredith McCauley said. “That’s not rare, but it is good at the beginning of the season. Normally people don’t go their best until the end of the season.”

The team leaves at 3 a.m. tomorrow. The first meet will take place later in the afternoon at 5:15 against Green Bay. Saturday’s match, also against Green Bay will start at noon. The trip will conclude when the Toppers head to Milwaukee for another noon showdown.

Reach Josh Buckman at [email protected]