MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois men's and women's swimming and diving are set to open the 2012-13 competition season with a dual meet against Saint Louis at Brophy Pool this Saturday (October 6) at 1 p.m.
Last season, the Leathernecks faced the Bilikens on three separate occasions and fell in each meeting. However head coach Greg Naumann feels that for this meet and this year different results are on the horizon, largely due to the coaching staff's addition of more than 20 newcomers to the roster.
"I think it will be a lot easier for us to place better," Naumann said. "Some of the gaping holes that we saw last year are no longer there. The biggest thing we tried to address with our recruiting was making sure we had everything covered in one recruiting class, and I think we were able to do that for both sides."
Both squads have the same goals of shocking fellow Summit League members and pulling themselves up from the bottom of the conference rankings, a place they were picked to finish once again in the latest coaches poll. According to Naumann, the men have the ability to place third by the end of the season and the women can accomplish a fourth or fifth place finish come championship time barring any injuries.
REGULAR SEASON OPENER
KEY NEWCOMERS: Matt Abercrombie, Austin Payne, JD Furr and Dylon Rykosky are expected to make an impact right away, while Megan Popp, Sarah Rosenhauer and Lizzie Hollopeter will spark the women's team.
TEAM STRENGTHS: The men's team is particularly deep in back, distance free, sprint free, breast, fly and diving, while the women are strong in sprint free, distance free and breast.
DIVING REPORT: Leatherneck diving had an impressive year in 2011-12 with Doug Ogilvie earning individual conference titles in one-meter and three-meter diving and being named Summit League Diver of the Year and Summit League Diver of the Championship as a freshman. He also qualified for NCAA Zones in each event. The Oswego, Ill. native returns for his sophomore campaign and is joined by returner Patrick Oliver and newcomer Viktor Rusenas. Julia Rassmussen returns as the lone diver for the women's squad.
DIVING GOALS: Diving coach Gabby Shaw has goals of taking the top three spots on the men's side at the conference championships and having another Diver of the Year honoree. She also wants to see Julia Rassmussen place in the top eight.
PRESEASON POLL: Western Illinois was predicted to finish last in the Summit League standings in the men's and women's preseason coaches polls. Oakland, South Dakota State and IUPUI were chosen to finish as the top three for the men and the women.