January 15, 2015

Chicago tests the waters against DI Panthers Basketball

The Maroons take to the road this Saturday for the first time since early November to compete against UW–Milwaukee in the Klotsche Natatorium.

Having both hosted and placed first in the Phoenix Fall Classic and the Chicago Invitational, both the men’s and women’s teams have the chance to earn a victory at someone else’s stomping ground, an accomplishment the team has only achieved once thus far this season.

Victory will be no small task for the South Siders as the Panthers are the lone Division I team on both the men’s and women’s schedule. However, the squad knows all too well that at the end of the day the division ranking has little bearing on overall outcome; the swimmers’ times and the divers’ metrics are all that matter.

“It’ll be fun competing against Milwaukee,” said first-year diver Natalie DeMuro. “We don’t always have a lot of competition at our meets, so it’ll be good for us to get a better idea of where we stand going into championship season.”

On the men’s side, the squad heads into this weekend coming off a stellar performance at the Chicago Invitational, with a No. 12 ranking to boot. The men won nine events last weekend and are looking to build off of that momentum.

“As a team we are shifting our practices from aerobic-based training to anaerobic, meaning that we are beginning to focus on speed, so by the time UAAs rolls around we are swimming as fast as possible,” said third-year swimmer Thomas Meek.

A pair of fourth-years will be looking to finish their college career with a bang.

For the men, fourth-year diver Matt Staab earned UAA Athlete of the Week accolades this week after breaking both the pool and school record, in the three-meter dive. In his effort, Staab also earned victories and NCAA provisional qualifying scores in the one-meter and three-meter dives.

Fourth-year swimmer Jennifer Hill is also rounding out her heavily decorated career as a Maroon. Hill earned victories in all three of the races she competed in  on the first day of the Chicago Invite, including appearances on two relay teams and a decisive win in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:10.62.

“I want to do the best I can with the remaining weeks of the season to help our team achieve its best NCAA finish in history and end my career with a bang,” Hill said.

Hill leads the No. 10–ranked women’s side as they near the UAA Championships. The women are also coming off a promising showing at the Chicago Invitational and feel they have a lot to prove this weekend.

With UAAs looming in the near future, the Maroons are all too aware of the kind of competition they can expect at the conference’s biggest meet. Six UAA teams are ranked in the top 20 in the country, with Emory topping the women’s side and sitting at third on the men’s side.

“UAAs is going to be fast this year. Each team will be preparing as seriously for UAAs as they will be for nationals since UAAs is going to be a good indicator for how fast people will be swimming at nationals,” Meek said.

The dual meet against UW- Milwaukee begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday.