Swimmers to challenge ex-coach

By Brian Wiencek

The NIU men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will finish off their regular season Saturday at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a 1 p.m. meet against the Panthers.

However, the confrontation goes much deeper than just another preparation for the postseason meets in late February.

Dave Clark was usually seen pacing the side of the pool for the Huskies. This year, he will be pacing for the Panthers of UW-M.

“With Milwaukee, it’s always been a really close meet,” NIU coach Jeanne Fleck said. “Now that Dave’s there, it just amplifies it.”

Clark was the coach of the Huskie swimming team for ten seasons before taking the Milwaukee vacancy. Since the move, Clark has made a major impact directing his men’s team to a perfect 11-0 record and the women’s team to a 10-1 ledger.

“It will be a really strange feeling,” Clark admitted. “It is really hard to coach against a team you’ve coached for. I miss the kids from last year a lot. It’s one of those things you can’t wait for.”

Though the opponents records do not compare, NIU is in the middle of a late-season surge.

The Huskie men’s team holds a record of 5-4 and has won three straight. Included in that winning streak are two NCAA Zone C Diving qualifiers in Matt Mersman and Bryan Hanania, two Mid-Con swimmer of the week honors in Mark Oostman and Todd Klumb, and a new record holder in the 1-meter NIU dive in Hanania.

The women’s team comes to the end of its season with a 4-7 mark. However, don’t let the record fool you. The women have won two of their last three meets.

In the process, divers Jen Horoky and Amy Inselburger have qualified for the NCAA Zone C Meet, Pam Jackson was awarded the North Star Swimmer of the Week, and Horoky received NSC diver of the week honors.

“They’re swimming really well right now,” Clark said, “and it should be a great match up.”