By Melissa Maykut
OXFORD, Ohio - Miami University's men's team will leave the comfort of the Corwin M. Nixon Aquatic Center for the first time this season to compete Friday against Ohio State (5 p.m.). The women's team also will travel this Friday, racing in their second away meet of the season against Kenyon (5:30 p.m.).
Last week, head coach Pete Lindsay and his team raced to a 150-150 draw against Cleveland State. The result repeated the meet between both teams two seasons ago when the Vikings and RedHawks swam to a 150-150 tie at Miami.
Top performers last Saturday saw freshman Chris Dieter swam to victory in the 200 freestyle, beating his teammate Andrew Kilkenny with a time of 1:42.48. Junior Michael Cavanaugh had a strong meet, winning the 100 butterfly in 51.03. Senior divers Michael Grainger and Chris Hoppler provided big point totals for Miami in the one-meter and three-meter diving events. Grainger took first in both events, scoring 321.75 points in the one-meter diving and 336.60 points on the three-meter board.
Last season, the Buckeyes downed Miami by a score of 149-122. Senior Anderson Whipp was runner-up in the 100 breast with a time of 59.17 Grainger also finished second in the one-meter diving, while junior Dan Nemeth finished runner-up in the 50 free in 21.08.
Ohio State will split its team this weekend, sending half of its squad to Tennessee while the other half will battle the RedHawks. Last weekend, the Buckeyes improved their undefeated record to 3-0 with a 193-98 win over Denison.
Jennings said he wants to see some good racing Friday against Kenyon but, since this is the team's first away meet, the focus this weekend is on "emphasis of procedure."
"We're just trying to make sure that we have the routines down," Jennings said. "During the second semester we travel a lot more, so we're trying to teach the routines to the new people and remind the older ones what we're supposed to do and when we're supposed to do it."
Miami improved its record to 3-1 last weekend against Bowling Green, defeating the Falcons, 173-113. Senior Leah Thornton swam away with victories in both the 100 and 200 backstroke. She finished the 100 back in 58.22 and the 200 back in 2:04.76. Freshman Courtney Collett swam an impressive race in the 500 freestyle, hitting the wall two seconds before teammate Stephanie Pearce with a time of 5:05.61.
Kenyon (1-2) will fight for a win against Miami, coming off a heartbreaking 149.5-147.5 loss to Denison last weekend. The RedHawks defeated Kenyon last season 167-119, earning first-place wins from eight current Miami swimmers. Thornton won the 200 back against Kenyon with a time of 2:05.83, a second slower than her race last weekend against BGSU. If she swims the event Friday evening, Thornton will be a tough contender in the 200 back.
Seniors Bekka Westrick and Stacie Clagg were victorious last season against Kenyon in the 50 free and 200 breast. Westrick swam to a 23.60 first-place finish in the 50 free. In the same event last weekend, Westrick earned the win in 23.56. Clagg also has improved her time from last season against Kenyon in the 200 breast where she finished the race in 2:23.06. Last weekend against the Falcons, she earned the victory in 2:21.05.
Jennings is focused on getting his swimmers used to competing away from their own pool.
"Every pool is the same, and you have to be a little bit more ready, you've got to be a little bit more race-ready because you have to travel, sit on a bus, and then you have to get up and get going," Jennings said. "You've got to learn to be out of your comfort zone a little bit."