Redbirds Begin New Year in Florida
Emily Hirt
Emily Hirt

Jan. 5, 2006

NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State swimming and diving team has been training and competing in Florida for the past seven days. The team competed in its first meet in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. at the Ed Kennedy Memorial Meet on Saturday, December 31. The second and last meet for the team is the Florida Atlantic Invitational. The meet will be held in Boca Raton, Fla. on Friday January 6. This meet will be the first meet of 2006 for the `Birds and the beginning of a 22-day, five meet stint for the team.

Head Coach Steve Paska is ready for an actual dual-meet competition.

"Tomorrows meet will allow us to see where we are as a team," said Paska. "Our team is starting all over again in 2006 and this meet will give us the opportunity to evaluate the team in preparation for the four competitions ahead of us. During the past week the team has had very intense practices, and the girls are getting tired of practice and are looking forward to competition."

The Kennedy meet was compiled of a relay format that did not allow several swimmer to compete. Friday's meet will allow the team to return to a normal format and swimmers can be placed in their proper events. The team will be competing against four different schools including the host Florida Atlantic, Transylvania, Pennsylvania, and Charleston. The meet will be a dual-meet format that will allow the possibility for four wins.

The diving team will be joining the swimmers at the Invitational. Redbirds will have six of the twenty divers which will give the team a stronger possibility of placing. Head coach Tom Davidson is looking forward to seeing all six of his divers compete in the new year.

"I am looking for consistency," said Davidson. "We are not adding new dives for this meet. We are working on making the old dives perfect. Emily (Hirt) has made some changes to be more consistent and is not struggling with the changes. I am just really excited to see the six divers compete again."

The team will be competing Friday morning at 9 a.m. The `Birds will return home Monday, leaving the warm weather behind with one meet down and four more 22 days.