Feb. 14, 2012
2012 MVC Swimming & Diving Schedule of Events
ST. LOUIS -- With a unanimous vote, the Missouri State women's team has been named the pre-championship favorite at the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Swimming & Diving Championships, the league office announced Monday.
The 2012 State Farm MVC Swimming & Diving Championships will take place Feb. 16-18, at Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatorium on the campus of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill. Thursday will mark the first day of competition with prelims set to start at 11 a.m. (finals at 6 p.m.). On Friday, the time will stay the same, but Saturday's prelims will commence at 10 a.m. and the final session of the Championships will begin at 4 p.m.
The Bears are the favorites for the 28th annual conference championships by a six-point margin over host SIU, who tallied 19 points. Illinois State claims the No. 3 spot with 16 points, while Evansville (9 points) and Northern Iowa (6 points) round out the poll.
Continuing its Valley swimming & diving dominance, Missouri State is gunning for its fifth-consecutive league title. With another victory at this year's meet, the Bears will have won nine of the past 10 conference championships. Since joining the Valley for the 1998-99 season, no team has won more MVC championships than Missouri State.
"It's an honor to be recognized by the other coaches, but we're not too focused on the pre-championship poll," interim head coach Dave Collins said. "This year is going to be a tight meet, so ultimately we are more interested in the final results on Saturday."
Also released this week was the third edition of the CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major Rankings. Despite an increase in points, the MSU women dropped one spot to No. 23. The Bears have been ranked in each of the three polls this season.
Heading into the MVC Championships, the Bears lead 11 different events on the MVC Top Performance List this season, including four of the five relays.
The Bears return a wealth of talent from last year's squad that won handily in Carbondale. Senior captain Brianna Willoughby and sophomore Anna Ahlin will be defending their individual titles from last year, while Willoughby will look to become the first MSU swimmer since Brianne McGuirk in 2003 to be crowned conference champion in the same event all four years (200 IM).
In addition to Willoughby and Ahlin, the Bears are stacked with swimmers who have experienced success at the conference meet and have won gold medals on relays including: Janke Engelbrecht, Ali Stauffer, Renata Sander, Dimitra Drakopoulou and Hannah Molden.
The senior group of Brynne Buell, Liz Chollet, Drakopoulou, Katie Lindeman, Laura Peterson, Dawn Richerson, Stauffer and Willoughby will all be competing in their final meets as Bears.
"Our athletes are excited and they have worked hard all year with the focus on this coming weekend," Collins mentioned. "They take a lot of pride into continuing the winning tradition."
For more information on the championships, visit MissouriStateBears.com and SIUSalukis.com.
MVC Pre-Championship Coaches' Poll (First-Place Votes)
1. Missouri State (5) - 25
2. Southern Illinois -19
3. Illinois State -16
4. Evansville - 9
5. Northern Iowa - 6