Marissa Clapp looks to continue her exceptional season in Columbus.
Feb. 18, 2008
Columbus, Ohio - The Fighting Illini swimming and diving team is set to compete in the 2008 Big Ten Championships held Thursday, Feb. 21 through Saturday, Feb. 23, at Ohio State's McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.
Looking to improve on last years ninth place finish, the Orange and Blue have been balancing training and rest to prepare for the postseason since their regular-season finale three weeks ago.
"We have decreased our total volume of pool, weight room and dry land training," head coach Sue Novitsky said. "Their bodies are recovering physically, while mentally they are focused to swim their top performances of the season."
Making sure athletes are at their peak physically and mentally will be important for the Illini with the other Big Ten schools presenting tough competition. Five schools are nationally ranked #9 Minnesota, #11 Michigan, # 13 Penn State, #19 Indiana and #20 Wisconsin.
"Annually, the Big Ten is one of the top three swimming and diving conferences," Novitsky said. "Getting all 11 schools together to fight it out is what makes the Big Ten Championships so exciting."
After a stellar regular season, junior Marissa Clapp will lead the charge for the Illini at the Championships. Dominating her events, she captured multiple victories in all five dual meets. Currently standing on Illinois' all-time top ten list in five events, she will look to move up the rankings this weekend.
"Marissa comes ready to practice every day," Novitsky said. "She is more than capable of having a great weekend with the quality of work she puts in and her ability to perform when her body is tired."
Annually a strong performer at Big Tens, junior Lindsey Shirley came on strong after the team' s training trip. She has continued to lower her times in the 500 and 1000 Free and is set to finish the year on a high note.
"She's had a great season for us," Novitsky said. "If past history is any indication, her times this weekend will be her fastest of the season."
Showing determination to excel in her second season with the Illini, sophomore Cece Marizu is primed for a strong finish to Big Ten competition. After swimming the eighth fastest 200 Back time in Illinois' history a month ago against Iowa, she knows what she is capable of accomplishing in Columbus.
"We could see in her eyes that she was going to do whatever it took to succeed this season," Novitsky said "Sure enough CeCe has taken it to another level and built up some confidence heading into the postseason."
Preliminary races start at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, with finals to follow at 5:30 p.m. Live meet results will be available at the following link Women's Big Ten Championships Live Stats . In addition, FightingIllini.com will be with the Orange and Blue throughout the weekend providing full recaps of each days action.