By Melissa Maykut
OXFORD, Ohio - Following an impressive home opener performance against the Xavier Musketeers, the Miami University men's and women's swimming teams are back in action for two more home events this weekend against Evansville and Purdue. Both teams will compete against Evansville Friday (Oct. 26) at the Corwin A. Nixon Aquatic Center at 4 p.m. The men's team will return to the pool Saturday (Oct. 27) to take on the Purdue Boilermakers at 2 p.m.
The women's team showed depth and leadership from upperclassmen and freshmen last Saturday against Xavier, when head coach DAVE JENNINGS' swimmers notched a convincing 154.5 - 81.5 win to kick off the season's home events.
Freshman KATIE BLODGETT made an instant contribution, taking on the three toughest events of the day: the 1000 freestyle, the 500 freestyle and the 400 IM. Blodgett blew away the competition in the 1000 free event, touching the wall at a time of 10:28.25 that earned Blodgett her first-ever event win at the collegiate level.
Senior LEAH THORNTON had a few first-place finishes of her own against Xavier, winning the 100 and 200 butterfly events. She sprinted to the finish line in the 100 fly in a time of 58.34, and powered her way to a win in the 200 fly with a time of 2:08.02.
Preparing for this weekend's matchup against Evansville, Jennings said practices this week have been focused on improving the swimmers' racing and sharpening areas like their starts, turns, and finishes when racing. These details are key to swimming strong races in a meet.
"Our team has been staying positive during the hard training phase of the season thus far," Jennings said. "There has been good, healthy competition at practice, which will make everyone better in the long run of the season."
There also is a lot of competitive energy coming from the men's team.
According to head coach PETE LINDSAY, he has seen a lot of healthy battles going on between his swimmers in the pool since the start of the season. Lindsay has even spotted his freshmen competing against each other - something that has already started to play out in the meets.
"The team is training well together and the members are pushing each other in practice" Lindsay said. "The rookies are integrating well into the team and we seem to be over the first round of illnesses."
Freshman EVAN BADER demonstrated why he earned a state championship at Talawanda High School a season ago when he won two events in the meet against Xavier, helping his team to 105-109 win over the Musketeers. In the 100 breaststroke, Bader touched the wall in a time of 59.17 to beat teammate WILL OLSON. Bader had his second victory of the day when he won the 200 breast in a time of 2:09.61.
JOE BAUMGARTNER also had two wins against Xavier, sprinting to the wall in the 50 freestyle in a time of 21.09, and winning the 100 free in 46.58, beating out Xavier swimmer Luke Johanns.
With one home win in the books, both teams hope to stay undefeated in their own pool. The women's team will try to improve their overall record to 2-1. The RedHawk men are 1-0.