Redbirds Look For Title as Underdogs in MVC Championships

Feb. 10, 2010

NORMAL, Ill. - After a long season of training and competition, the Illinois State swimming and diving team looks to prove it is prepared as the team heads to Southern Illinois for the 2010 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championships at the Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatorium, in Carbondale, Ill., Feb. 11-13.

The Redbirds (3-5) will be taking on Southern Illinois (4-3), Missouri State (6-3), Northern Iowa (3-8), and Evansville (6-4).

ISU took second place at the 2009 MVC Championships, and were picked to finish second (20) in the pre-championship poll heading into this year's meet, just five points behind league favorite Missouri State (25).

"The last two weeks of practice have been very consistent and have contained everything that I was looking for leading up to the MVC meet," head coach Steve Paska said. "I have every belief that this year's conference meet is going to be just as exciting as last year's, which was the most exciting in both the swimming and diving events."

The MVC Championships will begin with preliminaries at 11 a.m. and finals beginning at 6 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday. Saturday's preliminaries will begin at 10 a.m. and finals will begin at 4 p.m.

"We have to be ready to perform in the prelims each morning," Paska said. "Being prepared in the morning will provide us with more opportunities to finish higher in each of the swimming events, and will be instrumental in this team's success at the conference meet this weekend."

While the diving competition will bypass Thursday's competition, it will join the Redbird swimmers for the prelimary and final rounds on Friday and Saturday.

"I'm looking for a group effort going into this weekend," diving coach Phil Hoffmann said. "The team is ready and did a good job preparing for the conference meet. Now is the time to put it all together and compete the best way they can. I'm looking forward to the team ending their season with a good showing."



Illinois State currently holds six MVC Championship records under coach Paska's leadership. The Redbirds have the second-most conference titles with six (1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1996).

Results from each session will be available on Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, TRC gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.