SWIMMING: Swimmers set

Josh Buckman

The men and women of Western swimming and diving will travel to Monroe, La., this weekend to take on Louisiana-Monroe and Centennary.

While Centennary appears to lack the depth to challenge Western, Louisiana-Monroe comes in after a good recruiting year. Monroe has a strong reputation for recruiting international swimmers.

“I once went to congratulate them after they beat us, and only one could speak English,” Western coach Bill Powell said. “It later turned out he was Canadian.”

The major match-up on the men’s side is expected to be when backstroker Gord Veldman squares off against Monroe’s Sven Habenecht. When the two met in competition last season, Veldman barely hung on to beat Habenecht.

Monroe also recruited a tough sprinter in Diego Palcios.

Western’s and Monroe’s women’s teams come in after big wins last week. The Lady Toppers beat Sun Belt Conference rival New Mexico State, while the Indians knocked off Alabama. Monroe’s program features strong competitors such as National Independent Championship finalist backstroker Claire Beene, Maria Guerra in distance and diver Kristen Houston.

To help prepare the team for the meet, Powell said he will keep team training and workouts intense.

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