Photo Courtesy: Missouri State
Coming off one of the most prosperous seasons in program history, the Missouri State swimming and diving team looks to continue its success as head coach Dave Collins unveiled the squad’s 2017-18 schedule on Wednesday, June 28. The slate features nine regular-season contests and includes four home meets for the men’s 52nd and women’s 19thseason of competition.
“This year’s schedule is filled with teams from the SEC, Big 12, ACC and Big Ten,” Collins said. “We will really be challenged by these programs especially in overall depth. I do expect that we will be able to compete well at the top with them and gain valuable experience for the championship part of the season.”
For the seventh consecutive season, the Bears kick off their campaign at the Missouri Show-Me Showdown, held at the campus of the University of Missouri on Sept. 29. Following the season opener, the squad returns home to Hammons Student Center to host conference foe Southern Illinois (Oct. 7).
On Oct. 20, Missouri State will head to Lawrence, Kan., where the Bears will take on the Kansas Jayhawks and South Dakota Coyotes in a two-day double dual. MSU rounds out the month’s competition on Oct. 27 with a showdown against crosstown rival Drury, which will serve as the Bears’ annual Homecoming meet.
The lone meet in November, the Bears will trek to the Purdue Invitational (Nov. 16-18) in West Lafayette, Ind., where the both teams will compete against host Purdue, Indiana, Virginia Tech, Southern Illinois and Florida. Additionally, the MSU men will swim against Navy and the women’s will see action against Florida International.
The Bears continue competition at home two weeks later, playing host in a conference dual against the Evansville Purple Aces on Dec. 1 – the last meet of 2017.
“It is by design that we will only compete once in November and December,” Collins explained. “We made the choice to put a real focus on the Purdue Invitational in November and look to post some fast times. In December we will really put in an intense training cycle that will carry us into the championship part of the season.”
Returning to the pool in 2018, the Bears will travel across town on Jan. 18 to go head-to-head against the Drury Panthers once more. The teams clashed twice in the 2016-17 season, where the Missouri State men earned the sweep and the women dropped a pair to the Panthers. Collins says he always looks forward to coaching against Drury – his alma mater.
“We are fortunate that we can take advantage of the fact that we have two good programs in town,” Collins said. “When we compete against Drury, it seems to bring out the best of both programs. I enjoy the relationship I have had with [Drury head coach] Brian Reynolds and enjoy the friendly rivalry we have developed.”
Senior Day at Hammons Student Center is slated for Jan. 20th where MSU will host its in-state rival, Missouri. The Bears’ final home meet will serve as the last regular-season meet for the Missouri State women. Following the in-state showdown, the men’s squad rounds out the regular-season Jan. 26-27 at the Shamrock Invitational for the fourth consecutive year. The Bears will swim against three top-25 ranked teams – Ohio State, Wisconsin and host Notre Dame – as well as the Iowa Hawkeyes.
“With the addition of a good group of freshmen divers, and additional depth in freestyle for the women, we will be more balanced than we were last year,” Collins added. “This should result in more scoring opportunities which is what you need to be successful.”
The women’s swimming and diving team will look to defend its newly-reclaimed league crown Feb. 14-17 at the 2018 Missouri Valley Conference Championships, held in Iowa City, Iowa. Like last year, UNI will host the four-day event. After falling by just one point at last season’s championships, the men’s squad aims to capture its 20th conference title at the 2018 Mid-American Conference Championships, on Feb. 28-Mar. 3 in Oxford, Ohio.
This season’s NCAA Zone Diving Championships are scheduled for Mar. 5-7 in Minneapolis, Minn., and the Women’s NCAA Championships are slated for Mar. 15-17 in Columbus, Ohio. After qualifying individuals for the last four seasons, the MSU men aim to continue their streak at the Men’s NCAA Championships that will take place Mar. 22-24 in Minneapolis, Minn.
“I am excited about this year’s competition schedule,” Collins said. “I feel we have a great mix of teams that will challenge and prepare us for the conference championships as well as the NCAA championships.”
For more information on the Missouri State swimming and diving team, visit missouristatebears.com or follow @MoStateSwim on Twitter.
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