Redbirds Travel to Ohio for Zippy Invitational
Dec. 3, 2008
NORMAL, ILL. - After four weeks off from competition the Illinois State swimming and diving team will look to continue its early season success as the Redbirds head to Akron, Ohio, for the Zippy Invitational Friday through Sunday (Dec.5-7). The `Birds will head into competition with a 5-1 dual-meet record as they travel to the Olive J. Ocasek Natatorium for the three-day competition.
The Redbirds finished third at least year's event, and face 12 teams with hopes of walking away as champions. The Invitational will feature Akron, Bloomsburg, Buffalo, Clarion, Cleveland State, Duquesne, Illinois State, IU-Pennsylvania, Niagara, Ohio, Shippensburg, St. Bonaventure, and Xavier as the Redbirds swim in their eight-consecutive year of competition at the Invitational.
Illinois State head swimming and diving coach Steve Paska feels the team is ready for the event.
"We excel at this meet every single year and I expect us to compete with a great group of women's team that will be competing this weekend," Paska said. "With the energy that this team has provided, along with our 5-1 dual-meet record, we are ready to compete in this much anticipated weekend. This is where what we've done all season, in terms of practicing in the water and in the weight room and with race strategies, will dictate how successful we will be this weekend. I know the team is ready to race and compete. "
With the size of the field, Paska feels performance at the preliminaries will be important to the Redbirds' success.
"We emphasized to the girls that when it is time for preliminaries we have to come ready to race," Paska said. "One of our main objections this weekend is our performance in the preliminary races. Our goal is trying to get as many people to qualify for the finals as possible. Each girl has the opportunity to swim in the morning and hopefully come back. I'm looking forward to seeing how this team, who has had a successful fall campaign, will compete this weekend."
Head diving coach Phil Hoffmann shares the same expectation about the Akron Invitational.
"Akron provides a look into highly competitive divers, with Ohio, Akron and Buffalo all having very high level divers," Hoffmann said. "The competition provides a good mix of girls, many who you will probably see again at the Zone championship. Akron gives all of our divers a good lead in into training, some of them will be competing new dives, and some will be getting more comfortable with their lists of dives. This weekend is a good chance for the whole team to compete together and to know how we handle big meet situations."
Akron Invitational preliminaries will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, followed by finals at 6 p.m. Friday night.