Missouri swim teams top diverse challengers at Mizzou Invite

Sunday, December 6, 2009 | 8:31 p.m. CST; updated 10:30 p.m. CST, Sunday, December 6, 2009

COLUMBIA — The Missouri men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams each won their divisions of the Mizzou Invite, a three-day event at the Mizzou Aquatics Center that concluded Sunday.

The Tigers' men’s and women’s teams both kept the large leads they established in the past two days of competition. The men topped second-place Drury 1,171-868. The women beat Arizona State 1109.5-839. The meet included eight teams from six different Division I and Dvision II conferences.

Missouri junior Lauren Lavigna said she found the meet a pleasant change of pace.

“It’s really good to race people you have never raced before and to see teams from different conferences. It’s kind of interesting,” Lavigna said. “It’s kind of cool to see the different styles of coaching, the different styles of racing and where they are from. Its refreshing to see new people at the meets.”

The meet also helped the team better understand their own matchups, according to Tigers junior Jordan Hawley.

“It definitely helps us. You have teams coming from all across the country here, and you see a whole different variety of talent,” Hawley said. “I think it better rounds us as a team. It is just good seeing different people from all over the place and seeing how we match up against them and how well we perform.”

According to Missouri coach Brian Hoffer, the meet gave the team a chance to evaluate and show themselves what they are capable of.

“We are used to facing top-10 teams, so to actually go against non-top-10 teams, you can see how we can be successful,” he said.

Hawley said the meet was a good confidence booster.

“I think our team sort of had some road bumps at the beginning, so it was kind of difficult to wrap our minds around what kind of elite team we could be,” Hawley said. “This meet provided us that opportunity to see that, ‘wow, we have some really great swimmers on this team, and that we are going to swim really well at the end of the season.”

Hawley also became much more confident in the Tigers' predominately young men’s team.

“Our young guys stepped up big this meet,” Hawley said. It was iffy going in because we didn’t really know what to expect. We didn’t know if they were going to show up or if they were going to swim well. There were just a lot of questions, but they came out and performed well and lived up to the hype, so to speak.”

Missouri's men’s and women’s teams have about a month before their next meet, a dual against Missouri S&T at 1 p.m. Jan. 9 at the Mizzou Aquatic Center.



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