Panthers head to Valparaiso for rematch

Sean Hastings, Staff reporter

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The men’s and women’s swim teams travel to Valparaiso on Saturday to take on Valparaiso University for the second time this year.

The women are coming off a 2-2 record at the Western Illinois Double-Dual, and the men are coming off a 0-4 record at the same meet last weekend.

In the first meeting between the two schools back on November 15th at Eastern, the men and women both came away with their first victories on the year. The men winning by a score of 137-122, and the women won 162-95.

The women come in with a current record of 3-5 and the men come in at 1-6.

The Valporaiso women are heading into the match with a 3-5 record as well, and the men have not won this season and are 0-8

In the first meeting with Valparaiso, the Panthers were able to get 14 total first place finishes in the meet.

Kaylee Morris and freshman Matt Jacobs were two of the Panther first place finishers in the 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard breaststroke, respectively.

Freshman Amy Smith won the 100-yard backstroke with fellow freshmen Niki Beringer and Dani DiMatteo right behind her.

The Panthers look to have that success again in this weekend’s meet.

In the first meeting, coach Jacqueline Michalksi expected a pretty evenly matched race, and expects the same thing this time around.

“I think it’s going to be what it was like earlier in the season, just who can get their hand on the wall first,” Michalksi said. “I think we’re pretty even matched teams. I think we have some more confidence that we can win again.”

Just like the Panthers, Valparaiso will not be at full strength with some swimmers being sick.

“We’re both not playing with a full deck of cards,” Michalksi said.

The teams will have to once again adjust to the new pool. The Panthers have not had a home meet since the matchup against Valporaiso.

With this being the second to last meet before the end-of-season conference meet at Indiana-Purdue University at Indianapolis, the swimmers have different ways they are preparing for that.

“Some really like to swim what event they’re going to swim at conference as many times to prepare,” Michalksi said. “Then there’s some that don’t want to swim their conference events anymore because they are happy with what they’ve done.”

Eastern and Valparaiso will start their match at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].