Swimmers rebound to dunk UNI

By Brian Wiencek

Anything that could have happened this weekend at Anderson Hall Pool to the NIU men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, did happen, as both squads split two meets within the course of 22 hours.

The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame came to DeKalb on Friday night to hand the men their fourth defeat of the year, 133-99. Eric Beck (100m freestyle), Mark Oostman (200m breaststroke) and Scott Adams (200m fly) provided the bright spots on the swimming side. Diver Brian Hanania also helped out in the losing cause by surpassing Notre Dame’s Sean Hyer in the one-meter dive.

“He’s (Brian) being very consistent and working hard, and it’s paying off for him,” said NIU Diving Coach Jeff Symons. “He beat a very good Notre Dame diver tonight, so I’m very proud of him.”

The women fared no differently as they suffered their sixth loss in their last seven meets, 128-88. Pam Jackson (50m freestyle) and diver Jen Anderson delivered the high points for the Huskies.

Despite the losses, coach Jeanne Fleck was optimistic about her teams’ performances. “On the whole, we had one of the best meets that we’ve had all year, as a team.”

The only setback was a power outage. At about 8 p.m., with four events remaining, the scoreboard and scoring computer blanked out, erasing all the times of the races. After a twenty minute delay, the statisticians decided to time and calculate the rest of the meet by hand, keeping the finalized results delayed until about 10 p.m. “It was kind of a frustrating meet because it was a little delayed,” Fleck said.

Fifteen hours later, the University of Northern Iowa rolled into town. This time, the NIU men’s and women’s squads swept the Panthers 137-97, 127.5-103.5, respectively.

Diver Matt Mersman broke out of his Friday night shell to place second in both the one- and three-meter events, just a few points shy of Brian Hanania, who finished first in both events. Together, the two compiled 26 of the 137 Huskie points.

“He’s (Matt) gone through some ups and downs, and he keeps working hard, so it’s gonna pay off for him in the long run,” Symons said. “His scores were significantly higher than they were Friday night against Notre Dame.”

Overall, the back-to-back performances made it a long weekend for the swimming and diving teams.

“It does take a toll, but it’s good because it’s going to prepare them for conference,” Fleck said. “That’s what we need to be doing at this point because conference is a three-day meet. This is a great opportunity for them to get in practice for that.”

The conference meets take place February 26th through the 29th.