Dani DiMatteo, record holder, avid coffee drinker


Tyler McCluskey

Junior Danielle Mimatteo added her name to the Eastern record books with her time of 59.49 in the 100-IM at this year’s Summit League Championships.

Tyler McCluskey, Assistant Sports Editor

Motivated by not only her team and fueled by iced coffee with cream and sugar from Quills Coffee shop in Indianapolis, junior Dani DiMatteo prepared for what would be a record-breaking performance.

Seeded eighth going into the Summit League Championship, DiMatteo would end up finishing sixth place in the 100-Individual Medley with a time of 59.49, which would set a new Panther record in the new event. DiMatteo previously held the record when she got it against Valparaiso at the last meet this season and said that it was good to see her improve in time.

Ready and geared up to go as she got on the block, DiMatteo said she blanked out when she got into the water.

“I just swam. The fly and my back are probably my best two strokes,” DiMatteo said. “Those were my first two that I swim the 100-IM so I just went all out and I just was there just to hang on for the rest of it. I gave it everything I got.”

With the 100-Indivdual Medley being a new event, it opens up avenues for the whole team to get on the record board. Teammate sophomore Lauren Oostman is right behind DiMatteo, posting a time of 1:01.55. Oostman said that sharing the 1-2 spot on the list is a good, healthy competition. The Individual Medley consists of the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and the freestyle. DiMatteo said her weakest stroke was the breaststroke. She talked to coach Jacqueline Michalski, and they came to the agreement that there might not be as many people swimming in the event and talked about what she could do so that she does not lose herself in one stroke.

“I really focused on my under waters, doing my pull-out and everything,” DiMatteo said. “Trying to get as far as I could so I didn’t have to swim the stroke as much as possible.”

DiMatteo had been swimming since she was only 2 years old and she said that she enjoyed it every year more and more. DiMatteo started swimming with a local club team in her hometown of Naperville, Ill. known as the Mavericks. From there, she ended up at the Academy Bullets Swim Club, which is a well-known organization that has sent swimmers to the Olympics. DiMatteo said she had to try out for the team and used that as motivation and as a “I have to go after it” moment.

“Ever since then, I seemed to get better and better, so obviously I had more in me,” DiMatteo said. “I started looking at colleges and came to Eastern just to come to Eastern. I wasn’t really fond of it, but the coach reached out to me and I came here and ended up falling in love with the atmosphere, the team.”

Despite coming to Eastern, she was still unsure if she wanted to swim, but still gave it a try.

“I think I was super homesick and I absolutely hated it,” DiMatteo said. “Then I ended up having an actual good conference. So I was like ‘OK, I can’t give up now, I just dropped more time,’ and so every time I drop time I feel like it’s more motivation like I have more in me.”

DiMatteo said once she keeps dropping time, she has to keep going and looking forward, and the team is getting better and better every season.

Tyler McCluskey can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]