MU swimmers win Show-Me Showdown

Saturday, October 18, 2008 | 6:27 p.m. CDT; updated 1:19 p.m. CDT, Sunday, October 19, 2008
MU swimmer Anastasia Sotiropoulos competes in the women's 100-yard butterfly Oct. 18 at the MU Aquatic Center.

COLUMBIA — The Missouri swimming and diving teams proved their supremacy within the state of Missouri on Saturday by winning their fourth straight Show-Me Showdown meet at the Mizzou Aquatic Center.

Both the men's and women's teams won comfortably. The men's team finished with 393 points, which was 112 points ahead of second-place Drury University. Missouri won the women's competition over Drury 381-345.

The margins did not come as a surprise to the Tigers. Missouri's men's team is ranked 21st and the women's team is are ranked 18th in the season's initial polls, and the second biggest school represented on Saturday was Division II Drury.

The meet serves as a warmup for the Tigers, and displays several characteristics not seen at meets within Big 12 competition. Along with the relatively small size of Missouri's competitors, several shorter races were included that aren't seen in larger meets, including the 100-yard individual medley.

Despite the relative ease of the victory and the novelty of the shorter events, the Tigers still think the meet has value in preparing and evaluating the team for the rest of the season.

"Before the meet started I told the guys that this meet's going to set the tone for the rest of the year," senior Jake Hoffmann said. "If you come out strong today hopefully we can carry that into next week and continue on for the rest of the year."

Missouri coach Brian Hoffer said: "It was a chance for us to kind of get going, to get the process of the meet down."

Hoffmann and Lori Halvorson are two of Hoffer's swimmers that already seem to have that process down quite well. Both are seniors and captains, and each paced the Tigers with their performances on Saturday.

Halvorson won the women's 100- and 200-yard individual medleys, took third place in the women's 50-yard freestyle and took part in three firsts in the relays. Hoffmann won the men's 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard individual medley.

Missouri's Big 12 Conference schedule starts next week with a trip to take on Texas A&M at the University of Kansas. The Aggies' men's team is ranked No. 18  and their women's team is No. 9, but next week's men's meet has more at stake than rankings.

At last year's Big 12 meet, the Tigers had held onto second for a majority of the meet and were ahead of the Aggies going into the final event. But a loss to A&M in the 400-yard freestyle relay dropped Missouri three points behind the Aggies and into third place.

"We're extremely motivated," Hoffer said. "It was a very difficult loss to them last year, and I think they're holding a little bit in there. They want to come out and do very well."

Along with retribution for the men's team, a strong showing for the Tigers' women's team against a team that boasts several All-America swimmers would provide a large lift.

Last year, the Tigers women's team beat an Indiana team that had a ranking similar to what the Aggies have this year, and Hoffman said that sort of win brings a new level of confidence.

"It takes the team to different heights that they didn't think they would ever make," Halvorson said. "If we could keep up with them and even beat them, that would be extraordinary."






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