Redbirds Head to MVC Championships
Wenting Zhang
Wenting Zhang

Feb. 12, 2014

NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State swimming and diving team will be heading to the Missouri Valley Conference Championships in Carbondale, Ill. The championships will begin on Thursday, Feb. 13 and last through Saturday, Feb. 15.

Head coach Steve Paska is ecstatic with how the 2013-14 regular season went and is looking forward to seeing what the Redbirds will bring to the championships this weekend.

"I am extremely proud of our student-athletes and how they performed through the dual-meet season," Paska said. "This year was one of the best dual-meet and invitational seasons in school history. I give all of the credit to our student-athletes who performed at those meets. The 2013-14 MVC Championship meet will be the highlight of our season. We have been discussing this meet quite often throughout this season to prepare the swimmers and divers for SIU."

Illinois State is going into the MVC Championships with a dual-meet record of 5-1, and having earned first-place at the Zippy and Butler Invites and second-place at the Copi Coqui Invitational. During the regular season the Redbirds beat conference rivals Evansville and UNI. They also had regular season victories against University Nebraska-Omaha, Truman State and Washington-St. Louis. The Redbirds must keep the moment and mind set they have had this season in order to come out on top.

"There is an emphasis on race strategy and swimming with aggression especially in the prelims at this meet," Paska said. "Focusing on both of these will play a significant role in the placing of our swimmers in the course of the weekend."

The Redbirds will compete against conference opponents Evansville, University of Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois University, Missouri State and an addition to this year's championships is affiliate conference member Little Rock Arkansas.

Illinois State tied with Southern Illinois University in the polls to place second overall at the 2014 MVC Championships. Last year's MVC diver of the year, Redbird Wenting Zhang is one of this year's favorites at the Championships, and diving coach Phil Hoffmann believes she is going to build on her performance from last year.



"Top to bottom our conference has gotten stronger year by year. In order to get into the top eight this weekend it will be a dog fight," said Hoffmann. "The top half of the conference is very strong; however, there is room for our divers to move up in the standings. In diving it's all about who shows up and hits those six dives. I think our girls are in a great spot. I believe Zhang will be able to compete and improve on what she has done in years past this weekend. Our divers are ready and focused to give a strong showing, and I am looking forward to a great weekend in Carbondale."

The preliminary races are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on Thursday and Friday followed by the finals at 6 p.m. each day. Saturday the preliminaries will begin at 10 a.m. and the final race of the weekend will begin at 4 p.m. Diving prelims will begin at 1 pm. On Thursday and Friday.

"This year has been an enjoyable and successful season and I am looking forward to witnessing the Redbirds challenge themselves to race against other talented swimmers from across the Missouri Valley Conference," said Paska.

Live updates of the MVC Championships can be found at the links below:

MVC Championship Central Live Video Stream (Valley-TV) Meet Mobile - Fans can get live results on mobile devices. Must download to smartphone. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.