The IU women’s swimming and diving team travels to Minneapolis Wednesday to begin competing in the 2013 Big Ten Championship meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
“We have waited all season for this meet, and it’s always such a fun and exciting atmosphere,” senior Ashley Specht said. “Our team has been working so hard this year and want more than anything to win.”
According to the College Swimming Coaches Association of America Division 1 team rankings, the Hoosier women are 13th with a 4-4 record and a 2-1 Big Ten record. The Indiana women were previously ranked 22nd.
Indiana will be racing against fierce competitors including No. 16 Michigan and Minnesota, No. 19 Wisconsin, No. 21 Ohio State, No. 24 Penn State and No. 25 Purdue.
After finishing in second place to the Minnesota Golden Gophers last year (680.5-651), the IU women’s team is determined to come out of the meet on top.
“We are seen as the underdogs at this meet because we lost so many seniors, but I really think we are going to do better than ever,” Specht said. “We have so much drive and determination and have been counting down the days.”
With 15 out of Indiana’s 25 swimming and diving team members being underclassmen, the lack of experience could potentially be a concern.
On the other hand, the freshman class has proven their ability to meet and exceed expectations to perform well at the collegiate level.
Freshman Brooklyn Snodgrass continually dominates the backstroke events and has already received five Big Ten awards, two Big Ten Swimmer of the Week awards and three Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards.
“My goal is the same for every meet,” Snodgrass said. “Regardless of if it is a dual meet or end of the season competition, I just want to score as many points as I can for the team.”
Snodgrass holds the top time in the Big Ten in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 53.20, while sophomore Justine Ress is ranked sixth. In the 200-yard backstroke, Snodgrass also sits at the top in the conference with a time of 1:53.97, while sophomore Cynthia Pammett is fourth (1:55.49) and sophomore Dorina Szekeres is sixth (1:56.60).
“Compared to the other teams right now, we’re predicted to get second,” junior Lindsay Vrooman said. “It’s very tough to judge an outcome of a meet beforehand. Anything can happen.
“But what I do know is that our team is more prepared and focused than our competitors.”
In the 1,650-yard freestyle, Vrooman holds the top Bwig Ten time by nearly 20 seconds at 15:56.81. At the 2012 Big Ten Championships, Vrooman won her first Big Ten title after winning the 1,650-yard freestyle in 16:00.44. She is also ranked fourth in the 500-yard freestyle (4:43.35).
Specht is currently tied for the second-fastest 100-yard breaststroke time going into the Big Ten meet with her time of 1:00.43, while junior Bronwyn Pasloski holds the fourth best time of 1:00.68.
“We’ve gotten really pumped up the past few weeks, and I think the other teams shouldn’t count us out. We’re going in with an attitude to win,” Vrooman said.
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