Redbird Swimmers and Divers Pick Up Wins At UNO
Oct. 26, 2013
OMAHA, Neb. - The Illinois State swimming and diving team improved its dual-meet record to 2-0 this season with a strong performance Saturday afternoon against Nebraska-Omaha.
The Redbirds won the meet with a score of 201-98, however head coach Steve Paska thought the meet was closer than the score showed.
"The thing about swimming is the score is not always indicative of how close some of those races actually are," Paska said. "There were so many close races today. They won some and we won some, but when they won we had swimmers in second-through fourth to balance out the first-place finish. Overall, I was impressed with how the swimmers performed after the long bus trips over the past two days and we achieved our goal of improving to 2-0 in dual meets."
Bloomington, Ill., native Cecilia Holmes won three individual events and was the anchor on the team's winning 400-freestyle relay squad that capped off the day with a victory. The Normal Community West High School product won the 1650 freestyle event in a season-best time of 17:40.67 and just missed season-best times her wins in the 500-freestyle (5:10.92) and the 200-yard individual medley (2:10.92).
"Cecilia has been extremely consistent with her training, and that showed in her performance today," Paska said. "She trains relentlessly and gives 100 percent every day. That has shown through since we started in September in Carbondale, and this weekend she swam the best she has all season."
The reigning Missouri Valley Conference Swimmer of the Week, junior Marissa Yontz, followed up her award winning performance last week at Truman State with another stellar one against UNO. The Canton, Ill., native set new season-best times while swimming to a win 100-freestyle (52.15) and a second-place finish in the 50-freestyle (24.26) and also picked up a win in the 200-freestyle race with a time of 1:56.23. Yontz was also a member of the 400-freestyle relay team that took first with a time of 3:34.73.
"It's been a joy to watch Marissa race the past couple of weekends," Paska stated. "Two weekends in a row now, she's had an outstanding weekend for us and she showed again that she deserved to be named the Valley swimmer of the week."
Junior Wenting Zhang, the reigning MVC Diver of the Year, swept the diving competition with wins on both the one and three-meter competitions. Zhang posted a score of 323.7 to take home the 1-meter crown and posted a score of 327.16 to take home the three-meter title. Senior Maggie Kopp was fifth on the one-meter board with a score of 193.34 and was fourth on the three-meter with a mark of 205.95. Freshman Molly Schatz rounded out a solid performance for the Redbird divers with a third-place finish on the one-meter board with a score of 205.19.
"For our first true dual meet on the diving side, I thought they dove really well," ISU diving coach Phil Hoffman said. "Being on the road in a new environment is tough, so for them to come away with these results is great. Wenting's performances should put her near the top of the Valley standings and I look forward to seeing how she and the rest of her teammates progress throughout the season.
The teams will return to action Friday, Nov. 1, for a dual meet against in-state foe Illinois in Champaign, Ill.
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