Toledo Begins 2013 Schedule at Michigan State and No. 15 Ohio State This Weekend
Toledo, OH - The University of Toledo women's swimming and diving team will open up 2013 on the road, with back-to-back matchups against two Big Ten Conference members this weekend. The Rockets (1-1) travel to East Lansing, MI on Friday to battle Michigan State (1-3) at 6:00 p.m. in the Charles McCaffree Pool. Toledo will then have a quick turnaround with a dual meet against No. 15 Ohio State (4-1) on Saturday. That contest is slated for a 1:00 p.m. start in Columbus, OH.
Michigan State will also begin the 2013 portion of its schedule on Friday. The Spartans most recently won the Viking College Invite in Cleveland, OH on Nov. 18. In dual-meet action, MSU's only win was on Nov. 9 against Grand Valley State, 189-108. They have three losses to Illinois (153-147), Iowa (182-117) and Wisconsin (209-91).
UT will face 15th-ranked Ohio State after the Buckeyes host Wright State on Friday. OSU most recently finished in third place at the OSU Invite on Dec. 2. Their four wins in dual-meet competition came against Cleveland State (179-110), Kenyon (168-119), Denison (178.5-110.5) and MAC-opponent Ohio (182-112). The Buckeyes' lone loss was on Nov. 9 at Tennessee (191-109).
The weekend's action will mark the first competition for UT since winning the Akron Zippy Invitational back on Dec. 2. With a little over a month of training under their belts, the Rockets hope to be faster and stronger as they prepare to swim against two quality opponents. UT will also try to win its first dual meet over a Big Ten squad since 2009.
The 2010 and 2012 Mid-American Conference Champions have not fared well against Big Ten teams in the recent past, especially against the Buckeyes. Since 2006, the Rockets have a combined record of 2-12 against the Big Ten, with five of those losses to OSU. The only victories against Big Ten opponents were against Illinois in 2007 and 2009. UT hasn't faced MSU since 2001, when they lost 192-108 in East Lansing.
However, there is plenty of reason to believe this year's squad can reverse the trend this weekend under first-year head coach Chris Peters. In only three meets this season, Peters has guided nine swimmers who have produced top-five MAC times in 13 different events.
That list includes sophomore Maria Bargardi and junior Christina Noens who have recorded NCAA "B" cut times in the 200-yard backstroke. Both qualified at the Zippy Invite, as Noens broke the UT record with a time of 1:57.71. Bargardi finished at 1:58.81.
Meredith Gibbon leads the MAC in the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke with times of 1:04.10 and 2:18.56, respectively. The junior won both events at the Zippy Invite, marking her first-collegiate victories as a Rocket.
UT has received solid contribution from its freshmen class too, most notably Kristen Nunnelly and Mary Dombkowski. They are two of the six first-year MAC swimmers ranked in the top five of an event. Nunnelly ranks third in the 500-yard freestyle and fifth in the 200-yard freestyle. Dombkowski is fifth in the 1,650-yard freestyle.
The Rockets also hold the MAC's best time in the 200-yard medley relay, thus far. Senior LesLee Winfield teamed up with Noens, Harter and Rogers to record a time of 1:42.09 against Denison on Oct. 27.
Follow the UT women's swimming and diving team on Twitter (@RocketSwimming) and visit www.utrockets.com for all of the latest news.
UT Swimmers With Top-Five MAC Times
(As of Jan. 9, 2013)
3rd, 50 Free - 23.25
2nd, 100 Fly - 54.60
2nd, 200 Fly - 2:02.28
5th, 100 Free - 51.34
2nd, 200 Free - 1:50.28
3rd, 200 IM - 2:03.88
5th, 200 Free - 1:52.34
3rd, 500 Free - 4:58.45
5th, 1,000 Free - 10:24.90
3rd, 100 Back - 56.16
5th, 200 Back - 1:58.81 NCAA "B" cut
4th, 200 Back - 1:57.71 school record; NCAA "B" cut
1st, 100 Breast - 1:04.10
2nd, 200 Breast - 2:18.56
4th, 200 Fly - 2:02.59
4th, 400 IM - 4:24.25
200 Medley Relay Team
1st, (Noens, Winfield, Rogers, Harter) - 1:42.09